The 2002 film adaption of Alexandre Dumas book is one of the best movies made. I say that with confidence. For one we have outstanding acting by Guy Pierce (Factory Girl
) Who does an outstanding job of portraying the quality of jealousy and malice in a style peculiar to him? No other actor could embody count Fernand Mondego in this fashion. Jim Caviezel (The Passion of Christ) is a close second in acting ability. The transformation from pooper to prince and simpleton to scholar is aptly portrayed by Jim who really gives the character of Count Monte Cristo charisma and swagger.
The plot is widely known, but if you missed this masterpiece I will give you a short synopsis:
The movie is about Edmond Dantes (Jim Caviezel) who grows up seemingly oblivious to the injustices of the world, in a one-man oasis of ignorance-illiterate and simple. The story begins when he vows to deliver a letter for the exiled Napoleon in exchange for the use of his physician. When Mondego asks what Napoleon wanted Dantes dismissed Mondego’s enquiry, saying that Napoleon was asking trivial info about France. Little did he know that this secret would plague his future, for later that night Mondego looks at the letter and conceals the fact that he has.
Later when the crew has returned to their hometown of Marseille Edmond is made captain due to the death of the previous captain. The first mate-Danglars (Albie woodington) is enraged over his supposed demotion and schemes with the jealous Fernand Mondego to have Edmond put in jail. To accomplish this scheme they tip the chief magistrate and official of the new regime-Villefort (James Frain), to the effect that Edmond has committed treason by delivering a letter for Napoleon. During questioning Villefort finds Edmond to be innocent; being that he did not deliver the letter and had no knowledge of its contense. Everything seems to be going fine until Villefort asks whom the letter was to be delivered too… “Who was it to be delivered to?” Villefort inquires. “A Mr.Clarion”, says Dantes. Upon knowledge of the recipient Villefort burns the letter…
For all the trouble Villefort offers his carriage to Dantes as an apology to ride home. Unbeknownst to Dantes he is walking into a trap. He sits down in a carriage that locks behind him. When it opens again he is on the docks and soldiers are issuing him from the carriage. They inform him that now his home will be a prison and in a burst of fear and adrenaline Dantes bolts from their grasp and commandeers a horse in escape.
Trusting his friend Mondego, Dantes alights at his house and asks for his help. “How far are the Juan Dons, do you need money, do you have a pistol, good?” So speaks Fernand as he-to the surprise of Dantes, draws a sword. “Why are you doing this?” asks Dantes. “It’s complicated”, replies Fernand.
Why watch this movie
This movie will blow you away, not because of CGI or any type of special effects, but because of sheer acting ability on the part of Pierce, Cavieziel and Frain, just to mention a few. Not only does the acting impress, but the swashbuckling action is real and raw. Maybe you saw The Musketeer, which featured swashbuckling that was more stylized than Zorro; well The Count of Monte Cristo is the opposite. If you have read my reviews you know that I think, that rawer is better. The action in this movie is raw and correctly placed. We get a teaser of action right were we need it and not a superfluous WWF match as many movies turn into. When I say raw I mean real-many movies emphasize the perfection of a fight, which is an oxymoron. Fighting is not order it’s to forces clashing, and forces clash with a plot that is better than most movies made in are time period.
I would say go ahead and buy this movie.