Reviewed by: Douglas Downs
|Better than Average
|Action Adventure Crime History Romance Thriller Drama Adaptation
|2 hr. 14 min.
|Year of Release:
January 25, 2002 (wide)
DVD: September 10, 2002
Lying in the Bible
REVENGE—Love replaces hatred—former israeli soldier and an ex-PLO fighter prove peace is possible-but only with Jesus
prison in the Bible
SUICIDE—What does the Bible say? Answer
If a Christian commits suicide, will they go to Heaven? Answer
How can we know there’s a God? Answer
What if the cosmos is all that there is? Answer
If God made everything, who made God? Answer
Is Jesus Christ God? Answer
treasure houses in the Bible
|James Caviezel (Edmond Dantes), Guy Pearce (Fernand Mondego), Richard Harris (Abbé Faria), Luis Guzmán (Luis Guzman) (Jacopo), Henry Cavill (Albert Mondego), See all »
|Touchstone Pictures, Spyglass Entertainment, World 2000 Entertainment, Epsilon Motion Pictures, See all »
|Touchstone Pictures, a division of Walt Disney Studios
“Prepare for adventure. Count on revenge.”
Twelve times Hollywood has turned to this enduring story of conflict, betrayal, revenge, and romance by Alexandre Dumas. It is hard to mess up a well written story. The first time this drama was captured on film was in 1912. I personally enjoyed the 1974 version with Richard Chamberlain in the lead. In this version, Kevin Reynolds directs a masterful presentation for a new generation of viewers. Reynolds, whose films include the lively Kevin Costner films “Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves” and “Waterworld” is very comfortable with larger than life translations of compelling stories. The scenery of Malta and Ireland give this film a lush richness that is difficult to ignore.
Our story begins with our hero Edmund Dantes (James Caviezel) and his friend, Mondego (Guy Pearce) trying to save the captain of their ship. They seek refuge on an island where the emperor Napoleon is living in exile. Napoleon takes advantage of the goodness he sees in Edmund and asks him to deliver a letter. This seemingly innocent request catapults our hero from the rank of Captain into the shame of imprisonment. His greatest crime is that his best friend Mondego is in love with his fiancee, Mercedes (Dagmara Dominczyk). A jealous betrayal and a public official’s protection of his father lead Edmund into captivity in the famous Chateau D’If prison located on a barren island. Every year of his imprisonment he is beaten, and daily he traces over the inscription in his cell “God will give me justice.” Just when things seem to get worse, Abbe Faria (Richard Harris) pops in (literally).
This priest encourages Edmund, who is wavering in his faith, and the two contemplate escape. At one point of despair, Edmund exclaims “I don’t believe in God!” and the Abbe replies, “it doesn’t matter—He believes in you.”
Just as the two are nearing an opportunity to escape, Abbe is injured and gives his trusted friend a map to a large treasure. Edmund finds the treasure and uses the money to reinvent himself, plotting revenge against his betrayers. His anger almost begins to eclipse his capacity for mercy.
The “PG-13” rating should be observed. The film is sparse in the area of language (Kids-in-Mind reports “1 scatological term, 4 mild obscenities, several insults, 17 religious exclamations”), but it takes its full share of violence. There are two scenes where we witness someone being run through with a sword (blood included). There is also some premarital sex implied and infidelity excused. It is not a perfect film, but there are some lessons to be learned.
I liked this new version of “The Count of Monte Cristo” and would recommend it with the above reservations.
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.