The Count of Monte Cristo

"Life is a storm, my young friend. You will bask in the sunlight one moment, be shattered on the rocks the next. What makes you a man is what you do when that storm comes."   - the Count

release year: 2002
genre: adventure/drama
viewing setting: home DVD, 3/20/18 and 1/5/03

synopsis: Innocent young sailor is thrown in jail for life so that three other people can benefit...but after 16 years, he not only escapes, but gains an enormous fortune - which he puts to use extracting revenge.

impressions: Outstanding. This, for lack of a better term, an efficiently done rendering of the classic story. It manages to retain all of the major plot points, give us detailed characters, and tell a great story...all in just over two hours. This is a movie worth seeing.

   Edmond Dantes: unjustly accused/imprisoned sailor, gets total revenge
   Ferdnand Mondego: Edmond's friend, jealous of everything Edmond has and willing to do something about it
   Mercedes: Edmond's lover, she settles for second best after being told that he died
   Villefort: young magistrate, helps screw Edmond over to protect himself
   Jacobo: pirate whose life Edmond saves, he becomes a friend and helper in the revenge department
   Faris: old priest in the prison, he helps Edmond escape and get rich
   Albert: Ferdnand and Mercedes' son, he becomes a pawn of all parties
   Danglars: first mate who gets in trouble because of Edmond, he's an evil old bastard
   Dorleac: evil warden of the prison, he delights in torture and dry one-liners
   Napoleon: exiled French king, he persuades Edmond to deliver the letter that starts all the trouble

acting: Jim Caviezel does a great job as both young Dantes and angry reborn-as-a-zillionaire Dantes. Dagmara Dominczyk is his lost love who's quick to want him back once he re-appears. A young Henry Cavill is her son. Guy Pearce is Dantes' former best friend who betrayed him. Luis Guzman (in the only serious role I've ever seen him play) is a faithful helper to the newly-created Count. Richard Harris is the old man who helps Dantes thrive in jail. Michael Wincott is the sarcatic warden of the prison.

final word: Well worth seeing, whether or not you're a fan of the book.

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