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story revolves around Edmond Dantes (Caviezel), a dashing young sailor whose dreams
of settling down with the lovely Mercedes (Dominczyk) are shattered when he is
betrayed by his best friend, Fernand (Pearce), and sentenced to spend the rest
of his days in the infamous island prison Chateau d'If.
later, with some help from fellow inmate Faria (Harris), Edmond escapes from this
ghastly hellhole, finds some hidden treasure, and reinvents himself as the Count
of Monte Cristo.
It's the perfect
way to avenge himself on Fernand - who, in the meantime, has married Mercedes
- and all those who collaborated in his unjust persecution.
this one never age, and while the tale has its dull stretches - particularly Edmond's
spell behind bars - you always want to find out what happens next.
Throw in some glamorous
sun-drenched locations and lashings of opulent production design, and you can
count on being entertained.
Caviezel, who has
so far failed to capitalise on his star-making performance in "The Thin Red
Line", makes a rather impassive lead, while Harris is hardly stretched as
yet another bearded father figure.
So it's left to
the bad guys to steal the show - Michael Wincott's sadistic gaoler, James Frain's
scheming magistrate, and, best of all, Pearce's gloriously debauched fop.
"The Count of Monte Cristo
in UK cinemas on Friday 19th April 2002 .
Reviewed by Neil
Smith, BBC Films
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