September 1, 2012 9 Comments

Who doesn’t love a good swashbuckler? We’ve all probably seen some version of The Three Musketeers, but have you all been introduced to Edmond Dantes, the wronged penniless sailor from the Alexander Dumas’ novel? (Ironically, Dumas is also the author who penned the Musketeers’ adventures.) This is a deeper, more complicated story than those escapades, although I don’t know that the feature film got it totally right in comparison to the novel, but nevertheless, the movie is one of the best good old-fashioned swashbucklers to this day.

The Count of Monte Cristo (2002) Film Review

As the son of a penniless fisherman, Edmond Dantes (Jim Caviezel) is not a wealthy young man, but he’s a happy one. Second mate on a prestigious cargo ship, he’s fiercely loyal to his friends, and his captain. Through a series of events, he comes to a secluded island where imprisoned Napoleon Bonaparte resides. The British closely guard the exiled French ruler and should anyone set foot on the island, they shoot first. Somehow, Edmond manages to obtain the services of a physician to attend their dying captain. While on the island, Napoleon hands a letter off to Edmond, which he swears is completely innocent. Edmond takes the letter, and promises to deliver it. Impressed with his loyalty, the ships owner decides to make the young, naïve Edmond its next captain much to the dismay of the first mate Dangler.  

‘THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO’ (2002). Jim Caviezel stars as a man who is wrongly imprisoned for fourteen years in this Dumas adaptation. Text © Rissi JC

Bursting with the news, Edmond takes his excitement to his fiancée Mercedes (Dagmara Dominczyk). While his wealthy best friend Fernand Mondego (Guy Pearce) is more jealous of Edmond’s good fortune. Privileged with every earthly comfort he wants, Mondego has always been jealous of Edmond’s contentment, plus he holds the lovely Mercedes’ heart. This inspires Mondego to report Edmond to the authorities for the letter. The prosecutor, Villefort (James Frain) arrests him, and sends him to the prison where they “forget” prisoners, Château d’If. For fourteen years, this is where Edmond remains, all while fellow prisoner Abbe Faria (Richard Harris), bestows on him great knowledge.  

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‘THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO’ (2002). Jim Caviezel stars as a man who is wrongly imprisoned for fourteen years in this Dumas adaptation. Text © Rissi JC

Even if you’ve not seen this feature film, everyone “knows” how the story plays out. Right up front, I’m just going to admit; I absolutely love this movie. Its messages as regards forgiveness, get a little lost, but there is genuine repentance in the final scene. Everything else about this production is scrumptious. From the costuming to the structures, it’s simply grand. In fact, Edmond’s whole “transformation” is actually one of the most exciting parts of the movie. Each time he meets a person from his past we’re a little more enthralled; just watching his elaborate plans take shape is a thrill. Helping him in all of this is his companion Jacopo, who is hilarious. His straight-forward honesty and fierce loyalty is one of the most admirable traits in the movie.  

Seeing this movie is probably among the first I saw that was “grown-up” and I fell in love with the romance, adventure and excitement of it all. Jim, Guy, Dagmara and even a very young Henry Cavill are all marvelous in their respective roles. Jim plays Edmond perhaps more naïve than he needs too, but it isn’t because he lacks confidence in the role, quite the contrary. Once he becomes the Count, he exudes confidence. On the downside, sometimes the movie may lag a bit; this is especially noticeable during the imprisonment. Filmmakers do seem to rush through the enemy “take-down” during what’s supposed to be about a two-year timeframe; though some of these scenes are actually the best.

The script has a lot of intertwining poignant truths. God tells us in scripture that “vengeance” is His, but it’s true that sometimes in order to recognize a truth, we must first walk the path in order to learn the lesson. This hero’s journey is fraught with unhappiness, but the outcome makes him a better person.

(Disclosure: this post does contain affiliate links; if you buy anything through these links, I may receive a small percentage of the sale at no extra cost to you. Thank you to anyone who makes a purchase through these links. Read the disclosure page for details.)

You can rent or own, digitally, The Count of Monte Cristo on Amazon Video 

Content: one couple has pre-marital sex resulting in a pregnancy – there are a couple of far out shots of nude bodies. Mondego is a ladies man and constantly engages in extra-marital affairs; a married woman later sleeps with the man she truly loves. There is some swordplay including a few more graphic deaths; at least two men are run through with a sword. The film is PG-13. 

About Rissi JC

amateur graphic designer. confirmed bookaholic. bubbl’r enthusiast. critical thinker. miswesterner. social media coordinator. writer.

Rissi JC

amateur graphic designer. confirmed bookaholic. bubbl’r enthusiast. critical thinker. miswesterner. social media coordinator. writer.

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  • AnnaKate September 1, 2012 at 12:50 PM

    I am in love with this movie and have been since my dad watched it with me when I was eleven. =) Since then, it's definitely been one of those annual favourites. It's the sort of movie that breaks, melts, and excites my heart all in a two and a half hour sitting. ;)

    (p.s. kudos for mentioning Horatio Hornblower. that A&E series is my favourite ever.)

  • Rissi September 2, 2012 at 7:11 PM

    As am I, AnnaKate. Really, my entire family is enthralled with it. I can still vaguely remember the first time I was allowed to watch it – it was one of my first "grown-up" movies and it quite captured my fancy. :-) There is something captivating about its premise and the fact that Edmund learns a lesson – albeit the hard way, makes the story all the more worthy. You say it best:

    "It's the sort of movie that breaks, melts, and excites my heart all in a two and a half hour sitting."

    I know, right!? Horatio is a totally AWESOME series. It helps that I love Ioan also. ;-D

  • AnnaKate September 2, 2012 at 8:15 PM

    Amen, girl. Ioan Gruffud is da bomb. =)

  • The Political Informer September 2, 2012 at 8:21 PM

    My family actually just watched this movie a few weeks ago!

    We all liked by the way.

  • Rissi September 3, 2012 at 5:05 AM

    AnnaKate – *high five*

    He is TOTALLY cool. ;-D

    Political Informer – awesome! That is great that your family so enjoyed this one – mine does too. I think there is a dashing, captivating quality that is absent from most films today. Love that about this one.

    Thanks for dropping by!

  • Charity U January 6, 2013 at 9:10 PM

    I watched this one earlier this year, if I remember the dates right. Either way, it was shortly after (finally) completing the book. I liked this movie a lot! :)

    • Rissi January 7, 2013 at 11:44 PM

      This has to be one of my VERY favorite swashbucklers, Charity. It's so awesome. Glad you liked it also; I started the book but haven't even managed to get a fourth of the way through it. :)

  • […] (The Mask of Zorro) but it also isn’t as “heavy” as the likes of The Man in the Iron Mask or The Count of Monte Cristo. Humor does play an important role, but neither genre is ever abused. The writer’s don’t allow […]

  • […] it is. Based off of or perhaps I should say “inspired by,” the Dumas classic tale of revenge, The Count of Monte Cristo, this Mike Kelley creation has so much going for […]

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