'The Count of Monte Cristo' is a remake of the Alexander Dumas tale by the same name. Dantes, a sailor who is falsely accused of treason by his best friend Fernand, who wants Dantes' girlfriend Mercedes for himself. Dantes is imprisoned on the island prison of Chateau d'If for 13 years, where he plots revenge against those who betrayed him. With the help of another prisoner, he escapes the island and proceeds to transform himself into the wealthy Count of Monte Cristo as part of his plan to exact revenge. Written by
I really didn't appreciate this film until the second viewing. Afterwards, I thought, "Wow, that was really a satisfying, great film to watch." Satisfying, of course, to see the typical good guy-gets-revenge tale but also a film which provided some beautiful scenery and photography all the way through: a real treat for the eyes and must-see on a widescreen DVD.
I also put on the English subtitles on the second viewing in parts, which helped me understand a few things I missed on the first viewing and had made the film just a bit confusing in several parts. That was cleared up, and the rest was just enjoying the scenery and performances.
Most fun to watch was Richard Harris as "Priest," the longtime prisoner who tutors young Jim Caviezel, the man (Edmond Dantes) unjustly imprisoned who exacts his revenge in the last hour of the movie. Yes, Harris' teaching stretched credibility as he seems to teach his pupil about everything there is know in life! Harris, too, had some of the best lines in the movie, several very profound statements. Ironic that he would be giving Caviezel - who two years later was playing Jesus in "The Passion Of The Christ" - sermons about believing in God! That's Hollywood! One film you're an atheist, the next you are God.
For those who might think the first 30-40 minutes of this movie are a bit slow, stay with it as the action picks up once Caviezel escapes from the prison. Shortly afterward, he is aided by the other character I found most fun to watch, played by Luis Gusman, who still sounds like he's more at home in the streets of New York but, once again, you suspend belief and just go along for the ride.
Strange how our human nature makes revenge so sweet when forgiveness is the right thing to do, but Hollywood has always capitalized on this human failing, making enjoyable films like this. To be fair, it isn't just revenge, as this film points out, it's "justice" we all like to see. In here, the two words are interchanged, depending upon ones rationalizations.
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