Alexandre Dumas may be the favorite writer of ambitious movie
producers, but Count of Monte Cristo provides a bit more "meat" for the
directors and actors than the musketeer adventures. Besides being set at lavish and exotic
locales, its a timeless story of revenge, and its characters and their relationships
are a genuine challenge. In this latest attempt to recreate that story, the director Kevin
Reynolds holds up his end of the bargain, while the actors fall just short.
The story is known for a
couple of centuries already Edmond Dantes (Jim Caviezel) is an honest second mate
on a commercial ship, who is betrayed by his friend Fernand (Guy Pierce). Fernand is
driven by lust for Edmonds fiancee Mercedes (Dagmara Dominczyk), and the unfortunate
set of circumstances leads Edmond straight to the notorious Chateau dIlf, a
dungeon-style prison for the forgotten inmates. Edmond abandons both faith and hope, until
his luck turns one day when a gray head of a fellow inmate (Harris) protrudes through the
floor of his cell. The two will team up in the desperate effort to get out from the hell
theyve been imprisoned in for years.
begins when Edmund busts out the prison, consumed with hate and desire for revenge.
Slowly, he will bring his wrongdoers to justice, but along the way, he will find peace
with himself and with God. However, Caviezel, otherwise a fine actor, doesnt show
the entire scope of emotions his character is given. His Edmond is good as a naive,
illiterate Edmond, but he lacks the touch of darkness to show the full mystery of Count of
Monte Cristo. At his opposite, Guy Pearce showed the touch of cruelty in Memento and a bit
of determination in LA Confidential, and he manages well to be a deceptive and ruthless
weasel. Richard Harris provides a touch of credibility to the movie, and the ease with
which he plays Abbe Faria is amazing, even for a veteran actor of his caliber. The
sequences in the Chateau dIlf bring memories of great chemistry between Morgan
Freeman and Tim Robbins in Shawshank Redemption.
As mentioned above,
Kevin Reynolds scores big with lavish production and stuninng visuals. Just as in his
previous period epic, Robin Hood: The Prince of Thieves, he uses well the natural
settings, including several magnificent Chateau dIlf scenes shot at a small island
off Malta. The movie looks awesome, and everything from costumes to sets, has been given
full attention. The movie fills both full hours (and some change) with interesting visuals
and captivating action, and the result is truly watchable entertainment.