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The Count of Monte Cristo /

Rated: PG-13

Starring: James Caviezel, Guy Pearce, Dagmara Dominczyk, Richard Harris, Luis Guzman 

Directed by: Kevin Reynolds 

Produced by: Chris Brigham, Roger Birnbaum, Gary Barber, Jonathan Glickman 

Written by: Jay Wolpert 

Distributor: Touchstone Pictures


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Movie Image
Movie Image

     The Count of Monte Cristo is at times boring and dull, but in the end it is an ultimately worthwhile trip. In it we get one of the most beloved novels of all time captured on film, but sadly the movie is much more frivolous than the book. These harsh words arenít to say that I donít recommend the flick, but to describe the areas it is lacking in before I move onto the ďprosĒ listing. On the flipside, we are able to view some great photography, an incredible screenplay, and some well crafted action; the film is actually quite entertaining, and is never really ďpainfulĒ to watch.

     The story must be very familiar to most of you, but incase by chance you havenít heard the well-known tale before, then I will baffle you with a couple of tidbits of information. When a man is wrongly accused and sent to the most horrid and torturous jailhouse on the planet, and betrayed by his long time friend and partner; he has absolutely nothing to live for. He wants to break free from the terrible conditions of the wretched prison, but he is trapped and will be for the rest of his entire life. It looks like the end, but he finds a new hope when a man literally pops out of the ground of his cell. The man claims that he has been digging tunnels to make his way out of the prisonís torturous conditions and wants his newfound friend to help him. In exchange for lessons in writing, reading, and economics he offers to let the struggling individual help and gain his freedom as well. The prisoners are only checked on twice a day, so their digging and schooling schedules must revolve around these five minute periods. *They make it out of the physically demeaning quarters after months of hard work. Now the long-time prisoner must finish what was started, he must seek revenge on those who wrongly accused him.

     My favorite scenes were those that occurred in the prison. There wasnít much scenery at all, just dirt and rocks, so it let the actorsí talents were able to shine through, and by the end of the movie I was able to fully encompass their various strengths and weaknesses. The smaller scenes are more powerful than the larger ones, when the dialogue is concentrated into one dimension, and only a single subject is being discussed, the movie is in its prime. I canít say why, simply because of the fact that I donít know, but in my gut, I knew that they were the best of everything else when I was watching them.

     Guy Pearce has always been one to play the most oddest of characters, and never really is any good. Though he was fabulous in Memento, he was totally off in this movie and in the atrocious The Time Machine. His look doesnít fit, his speech doesnít fit; in my eyes he just isnít an accomplished actor. Watching him in this movie was for most critics like watching Tom Green in Stealing Harvard; though most people buy into his strange appeal, there is something just, off, about him. As a matter of fact, I didnít really like any ones performance in particular, except for James Cavielzelís, he was the most wonderful ďEdmund DantesĒ, and no one couldíve ever picked anyone better.

     The film does have some big plot holes, as well as some careless errors; there is only one that I would like to talk about in depth, however. As I mentioned before, the two inmates dig tunnels in the ground that either lead to other cells that provide paths to different exits, or directly to suspected exits themselves. In one clip, they dig from the floor of one cell, and come out of the bottom of another. If they left through the bottom of one cell, than wouldnít they come through the top of the next? This might be hard to capture on video, but itís the right, and most practical explanation.

     Overall, The Count of Monte Cristo is a very entertaining experience with some great action sequences and intellectually enriching pieces of dialogue. Just like every other film, it has its flaws, but they are more noticeable due to the considerable amount of ignorance the story gets when watching the feature unfold, because of its common usage in literature. Iím glad I saw it, though I was not blown away, as some were. Rent it, but donít overwatch it; I have decided to give it a light, three bucket, recommendation.

*One may die, or be left behind; watch the movie to find out!

-Danny, Bucket Reviews


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