In naming this compelling police procedural after Victor Hugo’s seminal masterpiece, director Ladj Ly (who cowrote the script with Giordano Gederlini and Alexis Manenti) takes a bold stance right off the bat, and he manages to sustain it throughout this noteworthy feature debut. The film, inspired by the 2005 French riots, takes place in Montfermeil (the location of both the riots and the Thénardiers’ inn in Hugo’s novel). It follows three policemen over the course of a particularly fraught day, during which one of them shoots a young boy—the contemporary Gavroche—with a flash-ball gun during a confrontation. Ly takes almost an hour getting to this point, spends the next half-hour detailing the immediate aftermath, then arrives at a harrowing, near-anarchic climax. The director based this on his own experiences growing up in Les Bosquets, and he gives the film, which at times resembles a documentary, a sense of knowingness that makes its finale all the more chilling; Ly posits that, all things considered, some outcomes are unavoidable. In French with subtitles.