The Three Musketeers: Part 1

Review by Rich Cline | 4/5

The Three Musketeers: D'Artagnan
dir Martin Bourboulon
prd Dimitri Rassam
scr Matthieu Delaporte, Alexandre de La Patelliere
with Francois Civil, Vincent Cassel, Romain Duris, Pio Marmai, Eva Green, Vicky Krieps, Louis Garrel, Lyna Khoudri, Jacob Fortune-Lloyd, Eric Ruf, Marc Barbe, Patrick Mille
release Fr 5.Apr.23,
UK 21.Apr.23
23/France Pathe 2h01

duris green krieps

Is it streaming?

ruf, garrel, barbe, marmai, duris, cassel and civil: D'Artagnan
Yes, it's yet another adaptation of Alexandre Dumas classic novel and, perhaps because this is only Part 1, it feels unusually epic. Director Martin Bourboulon approaches keeps the story serious while adding offbeat character details that liven things up. And the action is strikingly choreographed and filmed to look desperate, messy and thrilling. It may be an over-filmed story set 400 years ago, but this version feels bracingly fresh.
In 1627, d'Artagnan (Civil) arrives in Paris to join the musketeers of Louis XIII (Garrel), instantly stumbling into duels with three of them: philosophical Athos (Cassel), dashing Aramis (Duris) and enthusiastic Porthos (Marmai). But their face-off is disrupted by agents of the sinister Cardinal Richelieu (Ruf), so the four men team up to fight them off. Now they're caught up in a religion-fuelled conspiracy with Richelieu and Milady (Green) trying to take down the King and Queen Anne (Krieps). And when Athos is arrested, d'Artagnan must race Milady to England to meet Duke Buckingham (Fortune-Lloyd).
At the centre of this is the animosity between Roman Catholics and British Protestants, with Richelieu pushing for a war Louis is reluctant to declare. By leaning into this, the filmmakers add intriguing present-day resonance, forcing people with conflicting ideologies to either fight or band together. Scenes are staged with bravura, maintaining attention to detail while modernising battles as gritty scrapes that feel genuinely perilous. Nicolas Bolduc's cinematography adds to the exhilarating tone, using complex long takes to breathtaking effect.

Even as they remain distinctly individualistic, Civil, Cassel, Duris and Marmai have terrific camaraderie. Each is hugely likeable, bringing a spark of energy to each interaction. Meanwhile, Green, Krieps and Khoudri (as d'Artagnan's romantic foil Constance) have beefier roles than usual, creating their own impact as they dive into the drama and the action. So while everyone is a bit too familiar to allow for much suspense, the mix of humour and intrigue is thoroughly engaging.

The cast and crew skilfully keep things both edgy and breezy at the same time. So the adventure is entertaining on a variety of levels, while both hewing closely to the source material and updating it for today's moviegoing audience. What's most remarkable is that there's never an attempt to gratuitously ramp up the action or melodrama. This allows the underlying ideas about loyalty and integrity to grab hold of the audience. It's also so enjoyable that the cliffhanger ending leaves us impatient for Part 2.

cert 15 themes, violence 13.Apr.23

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© 2023 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall