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The Count of Monte Cristo is such an under-rated gem. Great performances,
exciting story, and a fun wit, this film has everything that was terrific in
Dumas' original novel and then twists it all up to adapt perfectly to the
screen but doesn't stray to far.
But is perfectly to strong a word? Of course not. Monte Cristo boasts the talent of both Guy Pearce and Jim Caviezal as former friends who have turned against each other in the epic-set Napoleanic French era. As Caviezal grows more throughout the film, Pearce becomes more and more a monster basking in his own greed.
The late Richard Harris is very bold in one of his final performances and Luis Guzman is perfect as Monte Cristos right-hand man.
See this film and reccomend it. It truly deserves better than what audiences gave it last year.
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.
Seeing an advance Screening of 'The Count of Monte Cristo', and having only seen one advertising TV spot before hand, I really did not know what I was going into this time. I vaguely recalled it being an Alexander Dumas book, and former film/TV versions featuring rather depressing prison scenes with men tunneling to the freedom of the Sea. Indeed, despite its wonderful locations and details, once the afore-mentioned prison scenes of this version presented themselves I was set to be depressed again and wondered where the story was going. And then several wonderful things happened; A whole new group of characters were introduced to our rather whiney protagonist - some good, some very bad. And by the time said Protagonist had escaped the Prison, he too had become wonderfully evoked and dynamic, and I wanted to see him get everything he wanted and deserved: REVENGE. From then on this film was a barrage of wonderful scripting (the adaption being perfect in its pacing and wit), characters, acting, events, costumes, action, suspense and romance. The audience laughed with genuine awe as each new moment or detail was revealed to us in the plans of the main character's (played perfectly, from his innocent beginnings to his scheming later years)steps towards that end. This movie was amazing, with very cool performances from Guy Pearce and the rest of the supporting cast, each figure getting his or her share of good lines. The tale of vengeance is well-balanced with tales of friendship, questing and plotting, and romance, and all of the implications each relationship holds, be it good or bad. At times the theater openly applauded twists or returning characters. It is perfectly timed and written, with powerful moments and style, and I would recommend it to ANYONE.
I hired this one on a whim, remembering that i had seen the trailer and had
been vaguely intrigued. I have to admit, having gone in with little
expectation, i was flawed! This was one of the better movies that i have
seen in a long time. Jim Caviezel's performance is slightly whiny to begin
with, but in the context of the whole story, the reason therefore is
appreciated and makes his transition and growth as a character that much
more riveting to watch. I absolutely loved him as Edmund Dantes then the
dynamic Count of Monte Cristo and cannot have imagined a better choice. He
was definitely not bad on the eyes either. Every scene had him looking more
dashing and more handsome than the one before.
Guy Pierce surprised me with a performance that was totally believable. His dry humour only made him more appealing, very well acted.
The entire epic, though long, never gives you the impression that you have been sitting still for ages. It moves along swiftly and always had me gripped, from the action, suspense, and even to the humour that was evident from time to time. The love story surprised me most of all. Instead of taking on a highly sexual slant, as all these new films do, it was understated, the female lead doing an admirable job of portraying the wounded lover, who has always longed for her Edmund. I loved the innocence that she managed to bring to the role, a really terrific actress and a really beautiful one as well.
Wonderfully scripted, exceptionally carried out! This has to be the best adaptation yet!
An emphatic 10!
It's kind of strange, my wife and I just recently rented Rob Roy. I
remember hearing that it was quite good when it was released in the 90's.
And although I can't say it was a bad film, I can't really say it was all
that satisfying. It had it's moments but it is not one that will linger
with any real distinction in my mind. Usually films in that time frame
intrigue me and it was a little disappointing to see such an average film
with a pretty good cast. On the other end of the rainbow, you have this
film. Now even though this is not exactly the same time frame, it is that
"type of film". You know, old England, old France, old whatever. It is
pre-1900's. I put all kinds of films into this category. Anything from
Braveheart to Man In The Iron Mask to Quills all falls neatly into this type
of category. Just like you would say anything from Nosferatu to Nightmare
On Elm Street is horror, anything pre-1900 is in this "type of film"
The Count of Monte Cristo is in one word, AMAZING. There are two reasons I wanted to see this film. One is the trailer had me completely intrigued and the second is because I really enjoyed the book and the film version of "Sleepers". That was the Robert Deniro, Kevin Bacon, Brad Pitt, Dustin Hoffman and Barry Levinson film where several youths are sent to a boys prison for an innocent enough mistake that cost someone their life. In the film the boys are tormented by Kevin Bacon and his entourage of prison guards and one of the things that keeps them going is the book, The Count of Monte Cristo. When one of the boys is first given the book, he looks at the authors name and says, " by Alexander Dumb Ass?" and his friend replies, "that's Doomaa, read it, it's about a guy that escapes from prison and takes revenge on the ones that hurt him." That is not the line verbatim, but you get the point. Ever since seeing this film I have wanted to read the book. Never getting the opportunity to do so, when the film was advertised, I was, needless to say, excited.
The Count of Monte Cristo is the ultimate tale of revenge. It is a story that has stood the test of time because it is probably everyone's fantasy to right the unjust wrongs that have been comitted against them. And oh what fun it is to imagine yourself finding a buried treasure and then making yourself a king or a count? To have everything usurped from you only to take it all back twenty fold is not only intriguing, it is absolutely diabolical and gives you a sense of power. Perhaps that is why the story transcends generations and time frames. Because it is a story and a concept that we can all relate to, perhaps not out of experience but because we have all dreamed about it. A simple man makes a decent living, is thrown into prison for a crime he didn't commit and then escapes and finds some hidden treasure and becomes the richest man in the world and extracts revenge. How can that not sound intriguing?
This present version of Monte Cristo is masterfully made. Kevin Reynolds, of Waterworld and Robin Hood fame, was given the director's chair and he doesn't disappoint. There is enough action in here for all of us looking the for next great swashbuckling adventure and there is also a trace of romance and even some humour.
Jim Caviezel plays Edmund Dantes and Guy Pearce plays Fernand Mondego. Together, these two shine. I wasn't a big fan of Caviezel's work thus far. I thought he was alright in Thin Red Line and Angel Eyes but his work in Pay It Forward as the homeless junkie really turned me off of him. In Frequency he was quite good but that was the only film I could really recommend him in. But I think that has all changed now that he has made this film. He is perfect as the average peasant that works to achieve his goals and eventually as the man who has learned from the fountain of knowledge and takes his revenge. Guy Peace, on the other hand is not even recognizable in his role as the insanely jealous best friend. When you look at his last film, Memento and then see him here, you won't even realize this is the same actor. He comes across as a jealous, scheming, whining son of a wealthy man that has been given everything to him on a silver platter. One of the best lines in the film describing his acerbic disposition in life is when Mercedes ( the love interest in the film ) tells Fernando that when he was a little boy, he was upset when he got a pony and Edmund got a whistle because that whistle made Edmund happier that when Fernando had his pony. He is perpetually unhappy and I'm not really sure what could give him any sort of concord. He reminds me a little of the Tombstone character Johnny Ringo. Doc Holliday once described him a man who wanted revenge for being born. Perhaps Ringo and Fernand are distant cousins.
A sure sign that you are enjoying a film is when you laugh at what is not even funny. You are enjoying yourself to the point that you are anticipating with such joy at what is about to happen. You know that sometime in the film Edmund is going to escape the prison that he is in and that he is going to find Richard Harris' treasure and extract revenge on the monsters that put him in prison. But all the while you can't keep that goofy grin on your face. There wasn't one moment in this film when I wasn't having a great time. And that is not easy to do. I think at times it is simple to become a cynic when you see as many movies as we all do. I perhaps see a little more than the next person, so when so many films begin to tread down that familiar path that it usually does, the perpetual groans become standard occurences. But this film kept me laughing, entertained and anxious to see the outcome. I love this film. This is on par with some of the greats like Raiders of the Lost Ark, Empire Strikes Back, Predator, Lethal Weapon and a few others that never stops the action. There is nothing to dislike about it and there is every reason to recommend it.
2001 was one of the weaker years that I can recall for the film industry. There were very few pictures that I really honestly enjoyed. There were so many films that will take the infamous ephemeral dive. Five years from now, ask anyone what the best picture of 2001 was and not many people will recall with reverance what films came out in 2001. But here we are in the second month of 2002 and I have already seen two films that blew me away. Mothman Prophecies and The Count of Monte Cristo are two films that I am proud to recommend to many of my friends. I am sure I have made Mothman an extra couple thousand dollars because of my recommending it. I hope I can do the same for The Count. These are two films that people should not miss. But seeing as this is a review for The Count, let's just end it by saying, I LOVE THIS MOVIE!!
9.5 out of 10 Just see this movie.
"The Count of Monte Cristo" by Dumas is one of my favorite books, it keeps you on your toes the whole time, guessing what will happen next. The movie doesn't accomplish this as well. While the book is subtle with the Count's revenge, the movie screams for all to hear. "The Count of Monte Cristo, formerly Edmund Dantes is going to get revenge on his friends!!!" They left out 3 main characters, and DRASTICALLY changed the ending, they had to, the end involves those 3 characters they left out. But I did like the movie and if you enjoy it too I encourage you to read the book!
"The Count of Monte Cristo" (2002), a contempo back-to-basics treatment of the famous Dumas novel for new generations, spins its tale of passion and revenge with all the glory and melodrama of Hollywood's golden years. Full of lavish costuming, sumptuous sets, beautiful locations, dashing men, a gorgeous damsel, dank dungeons, the ever popular swashbuckling (whatever that is) etc., all supported with a classic story makes for 2+ hours of solid entertainment. Who could ask for more? Kick back and enjoy this fun adventure flick worth a trip to the video store. (A-)
One of the most famous revenge stories, The Count of Monte Cristo is here
turned into a dashing, old-fashioned swashbuckler. The plot is riddled with
unconvincing coincidences and occurences (as indeed was the book), but other
than that this is a well-made, enjoyable film, with some literate dialogue
and believable action sequences. It is the fact that the action is
believable that makes the film memorable, because in too many 2002 releases
the action was so overblown and unrealistic (not to mention physically
impossible) that the credibility of such films was destroyed.
Edmond Dantes (Caviezel) is a honest young sailor working out of 19th Century Marseilles. His best friend Fernan (Pearce) secretly craves the hand of Dantes's gorgeous fiancee Mercedes (Dominczyk), so he informs to the authorities that Dantes is a conspirator plotting to aid in Napoleon's escape from Elba. Dantes is sent to a terrible, inescapable island prison, while Fernan takes Mercedes to be his wife. After many years of hardship, Dantes makes an audacious escape and, having acquired a fortune by solving a cryptic treasure map, slowly plots his revenge under the new identity of the "Count of Monte Cristo".
Caviezel was a relative newcomer when he did this film, but he really catches the eye as the innocent man driven to despair by his terrible and unjustified punishment. Pearce is good too, perfecting his arrogant sneer as the deplorable Fernan. The prison scenes are well shot, with the hopelessness and horror of the place captured in considerably believable detail. It's quite surprising that The Count of Monte Cristo was a relative disappointment at the box office, since its dramatic storyline, and the themes of revenge, betrayal and loss, are usually guaranteed crowd-pullers. This film deserves to be seen by more people, and the more people that see it the more its reputation will surely grow.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The Count of Monte Cristo. It is a famous story written by Alexandre Dumas,
even better known from The Three Musketeers. This 2002 adaptation of Le
Comte de Monte Cristo is a good one.
The story is about two friends. One of the friends betrays the other and that one is send to a prison on Chateau D'If. He escapes after 13 years, with the help of an older man. I will not tell you the details but this part in prison is a great part. The man tells him where he can find a lot of gold. After he has escaped he wants revenge on all of them who betrayed him. With the gold he finds he becomes the Count of Monte Cristo and his plan can begin. Basically this is the story, with some sub-plots involving Napoleon, some kind of pirates, a magistrate and his father, a new friend and a girl who once was the fiancé of the count, and now is the wife of his former best friend.
Everything looked pretty good. The costumes, the setting, everything. Th actors were all terrific. Jim Caviezel as the count, Guy Pearce as his betrayer and especially Richard Harris as the older man in prison. We see the sheriff of Nottingham from Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves in a same kind of role he has there, perfect for him, and Luis Guzmán as the new friend. They all do a great job together with director Kevin Reynolds (also Robin Hood) and the rest of the crew. 9/10.
"The Count of Monte Cristo" is exactly what I expected it to be -
entertaining. A classic? No. However it's far from a dud, and you could do a
lot worse if you want to whittle away a bit of time watching a movie.
The movie version of the book leaves a bare bones plot, which is quite simple. Edmond Dantes (James Caviezel) is falsely imprisoned for treason, having been blackmailed by his friend Fernand Mondego (Guy Pearce) who covets Dantes' wife-to-be. Queue languishment in prison where he plots his escape and his ultimate revenge on Dantes in a highly fashionable style.
This movie is a neat little adaptation of the novel, seeing as it manages to retain some great pacing on screen. At times, admittedly, you feel there's certain pieces rushed (particularly towards the end as Dantes' plan unveils), but since it suffices to keep the story moving along swiftly that's OK. The script is nice and witty - there's a real sense of fun permeating the movie. While Caviezel is a serious actor, Guy Pearce is obviously loving his role as the dastardly Mondego, hamming and camping it up with a glee that's delightful to behold - he steals the screen every time he's on it. Other members of the cast similarily light up the movie, particularly Luis Guzmán as Dantes' side-kick Jacopo, and a wonderful turn by Richard Harris as the high-camp -prison-warder Abbé Faria (I found him hilariously nasty).
The direction on the movie is nice and smooth - there's no need for any fancy trickery here on the part of Kevin Reynolds. Indeed the smooth almost gentle nature of it all, including well paced sword fights, is a nice change from some of the more overly-excessive energetic work of today's movies.
Is the movie perfect? No. It's not smart enough, or quite well made enough for that. But it is a hell of a lot of fun, and most certainly enjoyable - and that's often all you want. With it's great sense of fun, and some lovely performances throughout, it's a worthwhile diversion for a while. I'll give it a 7.8.
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