Monte Cristo: not another Waterworld

The Count of Monte Cristo, based on the classic novel by Alexander Dumas, deals with the most vulgar of human emotions: lust, anger, jealousy, and our all-time favourite… revenge.
James Caviezel plays Edmund Dantes who is falsely imprisoned for over a decade while his former best friend, Fernand Mondego, played by Guy Pearce, marries Edmund’s love and goes on with his life.
Dante meets a wayward priest, played by Richard Harris, in prison and they plan their escape. Dante manages to get away, finds a hidden fortune and proceeds to plot his revenge.
Caviezel and Pearce do a convincing job with their respective roles and feed off each other’s character. Throughout the film you sympathize with Dantes, and as he plots his revenge against all those who had wronged him you feel a certain satisfaction as he sets his plan in motion.
The director Kevin Reynolds, who also directed the forgettable Waterworld did a commendable job in pacing the film, there was never a dull moment.
The story was basic but enjoyable. The sets and costumes successfully matched the style of the Baroque period, which added to the over all feel.
The area in which the film was lacking was the supporting cast, composed of the relatively unknown actress Dagmara Dominczyk , who played Mercedes, Dante’s love interest and her son Albert Mondego played by Henry Cavill.
Their performances were adequate but when compared to Caviezel and Pearce’s the difference is quite noticeable.
Oh and I can’t forget Jacopo played by Luis Guzman as Dantes sidekick, it’s as if they plucked someone from Brooklyn and dropped him in 19th century France. His dialogue was atrocious and his behaviour was so contemporary it was totally out of place. But I must admit he did add a comedic touch to the movie albeit unintentionally.
When I first saw the trailer for this film I had this nagging feeling that it would be horribly bad but to my surprise I found it to be very enjoyable.
This isn’t groundbreaking work and it definitely isn’t a movie that will stay on your mind or get you thinking. On the other hand, if you’ve already seen the major box office draws or if you have some time on your hands on a Tuesday night, this flick will definitely quench your thirst for swashbuckling action. This is an ideal movie for anyone who is in the mood for action, drama and… sword fights!

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