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The Count of Monte Cristo (2002)

  Directed by: Kevin Reynolds
Starring: James Caviezel, Richard Harris, Guy Pearce
Links: The Count of Monte Cristo on the IMDb, Official site, Buy the Soundtrack, Buy on Video, Buy on DVD
Genre: Drama

This movie gets: 5.00 (1 rating)
nofreelist.com Ranking: not yet ranked (awaiting 2 ratings)

"‘Bleh’ pretty much sums it up" - a review by mino

Guy Pearce is, indeed, a funny one. One day, several years ago now, I was sitting in a motel room in Syracuse, upstate New York, watching the US Today show. Leonard Maltin came on, and was talking about this new film coming out soon, called L.A. Confidential. This movie, said Leonard, starred ‘Aussie actor Guy Pearce’. And when Len uttered this fact, I fair fell off the bed. I mean, Guy Pearce! Really? The guy from Neighbours? Are you serious? And then I saw L.A. Confidential. And, it's fair to say, I was blown away (as was everyone). Nodding knowingly to ourselves, we all said ‘Lord, he's come along nicely! He'll be a star, mark my words.’ (we said this as if we knew what we were talking about). And now, 5 years later, he's appearing in The Count Of Monte Cristo. How the mighty have fallen.

It's not that Count is a bad film as such. It's just really not a very good one. It's an age-old story (albeit summarised and twisted into something somewhat different), and the fact is it's a bloody good story. Simplistic themes of love, death, and revenge, sure, but a top yarn nonetheless. And that's what saves this movie — because if you made a movie as dreary as this one without the backup of having a good story behind you, well, your next ‘directing’ job will be holding the ‘slow’ sign at the building of a new 8-lane expressway.

The story, for those who don't know it, is that of Edmond Dantès (relative newcomer James Caviezel), a French sailor who is basically shafted by his good buddy (Pearce), and locked in the remote prison of the Chateau D'If for many years. When he gets out — well, it's fair to say he's pissed off.

Count is a very good story wrapped in slow, painful direction, and with dialogue that sounds like it's off the back of a cornflakes packet, when the regular cornflakes-packet-writing guy is off sick and they send the work experience guy in instead, and the work experience guy is hungover and left his spectacles at home. Some of the lines the poor actors are forced to deliver are… well, wince-worthy. You feel sorry for poor Guy, having to ham it up like that.

Even more confusing are the accents. Given the movie is set in 19th century France, it is a little odd that the characters don't talk with French accents. Even more odd is that not only do they not use French accents (fair enough, I suppose, if they didn't think they could pull it off), but they actually use toffy English accents. All of them. Even the ones who aren't actually English (Guy, I'm looking at you…). It's surprisingly irritating. Or maybe that's just me.

Count is, to be fair, not without its charms. It really is a good story, and the few action sequences are really quite exciting, if a little by-the-book. It doesn't take itself too seriously, and there is some humour running through the film (not exactly Carry On Up The Count, but they try). And Richard Harris really does steal the show as Abbè Faria, Dantès' ‘cellmate’ (more or less). It really isn't a bad movie all up, probably the best word for it is ‘unremarkable’. So by all means, check it out, it is worth a look. But it's OK if you wait for the video, and then not really play very close attention when it's on. Do some needlepoint or something.

Oh, I almost forgot. There is one more plus: ‘Caviezel’ sounds a lot like ‘Catweazle’. That's pretty cool.

mino gives this movie 5 out of 10.
Review created on Thu 13 Jun 2002

Movie review statistics

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Reader comments

  1. fff

    Rating given: 9

    A comment from fff on Sat 13 Dec 2003 14:38 #

  2. I thought the film was an excellent watch.

    guy pearce was excellent. overall a very pleasan movie experience.

    A comment from sunny on Fri 03 Feb 2006 03:29 #

  3. woo

    Rating given: 10

    A comment from akash on Wed 22 Feb 2006 05:23 #

Those who have commented give this movie: 9.50 (2 ratings)

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