"In life, we are kings or pawns." ~ The Count of Monte Cristo
My viewing of The Count of Monte Cristo was a spontaneous happenstance while hanging out with my family, and I am delighted to say I thoroughly enjoyed it. This 2002 film is based on the 1844 literary classic by Alexandre Dumas and was the fourth film version to be made. Previous film adaptations were released in 1934, 1975, and 1998. (Would you believe my dad has seen all four films!) It stars Jim Caviezel as Edmond Dantes (the Count), Guy Pearce (Fernand Montego), James Frain (J.F. Villefort), Dagmara Dominczyk (Mercedes Montego), Luis Guzman (Jacopo), and a very young Henry Cavill as Albert Montego.
In 1815 France, things are looking up for sailer Edmond Dantes, notably a job promotion and engagement to his love, Mercedes. However, all this is taken away when he is crossed by his closest friend and falsely imprisoned for crimes he did not commit. While in prison for 13 years, he meets the priest Abbe Faria, played wonderfully by Richard Harris, who not only uses their time together to educate Edmond, he provides much needed faith and hope. He also inadvertently helps Edmond escape AND inherit riches beyond the imagination. Now a free man, Edmond is overcome with revenge and sets in motion his master plan to avenge the men that wronged him and find his true love. He is aided by his loyal companion, Jacopo. Along the way, he is met with more heartache and must struggle to keep his pain and anger in check and remember Abbe's final words to him:
"Do not commit the crime for which you now serve the sentence. God said, 'Vengeance is mine.'" ~ The Count of Monte Cristo
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The Count of Monte Cristo is the ultimate story of betrayal and revenge and has a little bit of everything including pirates, action, corruption and love - all this with a twist. It's funny! It is a historical fiction with some highly effective comic relief. In my opinion, while not a a pure comedy and more subtle in its comedic approach, it was reminiscent of such films as The Princess Bride and Zorro, the Gay Blade.
The Count of Monte Cristo is rated PG-13 for adventure violence/swordplay and some sensuality. If you haven't already seen this film and are looking for something a bit different for your next movie night, give this one a shot.