“The Count of Monte Cristo”

countofmontecristo.jpgJim Caviezel
Guy Pearce
Richard Harris
James Frain
Dagmara Domincyzk
Michael Wincott
Luis Guzman
Henry Cavill

PG13           131min           2002

“The Count of Monte Cristo” is a tale of betrayal, adventure and revenge. When the dashing and guileless Edmond Dantes (Caviezel) is betrayed by his best friend (Pearce) and wrongly imprisoned, he becomes consumed by thoughts of vengeance. After a miraculous escape, he transforms himself into the mysterious and wealthy Count of Monte Cristo, insinuates himself into the French nobility and puts his cunning plan of revenge in action.

Based on the book of the same name by Alexander Dumas, “The Count of Monte Cristo” keeps the basic themes and the overall plot of the book but changes some of the major events from the book. You can’t use this version to pass your test. It is still entertaining and exciting to watch.

Caviezel and Pearce play off each other well enough to believe that they are best of friends in the beginning and total enemies in the end. Pearce comes across with an underlying anger that is believable through out the film. Caviezel transformation from a young man naive to the world into a man that has seen the world at its worst and embraces those darker impulses is subtler.

An outstanding cast featuring Richard Harris, Luis Guzman and Dagmara Domincyzk, the woman at the heart of this conflict, supports them. Richard Harris in one of his final performance is Dantes’s mentor in the Chateau d’If. Luis Guzman as “his man for life”, Jacopo is Dantes’s conscience. Dagmara Domincyzk is stunning as Mercedes and Dante’s one true love.

This re-imaging is more accessible to the modern youth than the book is. Having first read this in the ninth grade “The Count of Monte Cristo” has always been a favorite of mine but his a complicated read. I was always intrigued with the betrayal and revenge part of the book, and how it transformed a naïve young man into a harden survivor. This film completely captures what’s in the book with out being completely faithful to it.

I give it 4/5 Gs.

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