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Film Review - Count of Monte Cristo, The
Kevin Reynolds' new film The Count of Monte Cristo is an action-packed romantic tragedy, based on the Alexandre Dumas novel of the same name. Monte Cristo is a story of betrayal, revenge, and redemption.
Young Edmond Dantes is second mate aboard a French merchant ship. He disobeys orders and takes his dying Captain to the forbidden island where Napoleon Bonaparte is imprisoned. Napoleon hands him a note.
In France, Dantes is promoted to Captain when his loyal act is revealed. Now he can marry his beloved. But his jealous friend Mondego betrays Dantes. Edmond is tossed into prison for accepting the letter from Napoleon, a treasonous act.
Dantes rots in prison for 16 years. During this time, he is educated, taught to fight, and finally escapes. His freedom comes at the expense of his teacher and friend Abbe Faria. In his dying moment Faria gives Dantes a treasure map.
Now free, Dantes joins a crew of smugglers and eventually returns to France. He learns who has betrayed him, and begins his quest for revenge. He follows the treasure map to an enormous sunken wealth. Now he has the education, money, and rage to bring down his enemies.
Posing as the Count of Monte Cristo, Dantes becomes close to his prey. One by one, he brings down the people who sent him to prison. The rub comes when his beloved who had married the very man who had betrayed him, discovers who he really is. Now angst enters the story. How does Dantes come to terms with what appears to be another betrayal? He starts to sink more and more into his quest for revenge.
There is a moment where you think the ending will be Hamlet and everybody will die. Then the film chickens out and is Hollywood-ized. All bad people die, all good people live, and the fallen are redeemed. It's okay and doesn't bring down the film, but the original ending might have been better.
This film really does quite a lot. There are many very interesting, very complicated characters. You've got romance, adventure, swashbuckling, intrigue, revenge, so many themes in one story. If you like Star Wars, many of the same elements appear here. There's even a part where you'd swear you were watching Darth Vader.
This is very worth seeing. The film moves along at an even pace. The picture doesn't get bogged down in the second act like so many modern films. The education scenes are cut quickly to keep moving. Finally, the inner conflict of Dantes keeps him from becoming two dimensional.
I just wonder how this film would have been received if the film had used Dumas original ending.
Directed by Kevin Reynolds
Released in 2002
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Reviewed by Mongo