|The Count of Monte Cristo
En garde! Edmond's best friend betrays him to the cops....
dir Kevin Reynolds
scr Jay Wolpert
with Jim Caviezel, Guy Pearce, Richard Harris, James Frain, Dagmara Dominczyk, Luis Guzman, Henry Cavill, Helen McCrory, Michael Wincott, Albie Woodington, Patrick Godfrey, Alex Norton
release US 18.Jan.02; UK 19.Apr.02
The director of Robin Hood Prince of Thieves uses the same glossy approach with this classic tale: It's extremely well-made, even though all the guts have been sucked out in an attempt to make it politically correct. Edmond (Caviezel) is wrongly accused of high treason and sentenced to life in the horrible Chateau d'If prison, where he meets an old priest (Harris) and plots to escape. His plan is to get revenge against his childhood friend (Pearce), who betrayed him and then ran off with his fiancee (Dominczyk). Fortunately, the priest is in possession of a mind-boggling fortune, so on his escape Edmond reinvents himself as the titular count and heads for Paris ... and vengeance!
Alexandre Dumas' story is a classic, and yet the filmmakers tamper with it rather heavily in their attempts to make it more palatable for modern audiences. This means lots of goofy comedy (mostly courtesy of Guzman's loyal sidekick), swooning romance, no real nastiness and, above all, extremely clear-cut lines between good and evil. We are never remotely in doubt about who to root for here; even Edmond's obsessive quest for revenge is morally pure! This basically saps any depth of meaning right out of the film, even though it's always watchable and entertaining. The cast play the roles convincingly, even though you can tell they're chomping at the bit to really cut loose and add some shading to their characters. The film really misses the charming villain (Alan Rickman, anyone?) and the slightly questionable hero. But never mind; take this for what it is--a mindless adventure--and it's only half bad.
|"This film is a very enjoyable action adventure. The old flame of the count is a very beautiful woman and I enjoyed her scenes immensely. Pearce is excellent as the villain. I would recommend this to all Indiana Jones fans." --Brian, Dublin 10.Apr.02