The Count of Monte Cristo

Movie Information

Kevin Reynolds' The Count of Monte Cristo (2002) is such a gloriously old-fashioned, swashbuckling adventure movie that it makes one wonder if we've been blaming the wrong Kevin for the cinematic atrocities that are Waterworld and Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. The combination of Reynolds and the memory of the dreary attempt at putting Dumas pere on the screen [in 2001] with The Musketeer certainly sent me into this one with diminished expectations, only to find a very agreeable surprise. It's a very nearly perfect old-time movie with gorgeous leads, great character actors and all the production gloss you could hope for. Unlike many modern stories, The Count of Monte Cristo is very heavily plotted. Indeed, it's the twists and turns of Dumas' plot that give the movie much of its appeal. Some of the events may seem a little too pat, but it's impossible not to admire the intricacy of the construction: There are no digressions; each piece of the plot is wondrously functional. The movie concerns itself far more with effect than with logic or reality — so much so that when Dantes and his sidekick (Luis Guzman) load far more chests of sunken treasure (never mind that we don't see how they got it out of the briny anyway) onto their tiny boat than it could possibly hold, we might laugh, but we don't bother to question it. It's that kind of a movie. What else can you expect from a film in which the hero makes his appearance as the self-created Count of Monte Cristo via a hot air balloon complete with acrobats on ropes?  The thing is that The Count of Monte Cristo is such great fun, so superbly acted and so beautiful to look at that these things don't matter. It's just a plain entertaining movie — made with craft, skill, a little artistry and an obvious love of the genre. This excerpt was taken from a review originally published by Ken Hanke on Jan. 1, 2000.  
Genre: Adventure
Director: Kevin Reynolds
Starring: Jim Caviezel, Guy Pearce, Dagmara Dominiczyk, Richard Harris, Luis Guzman
Rated: PG-13

The Hendersonville Film Society will show The Count of Monte Cristo, on Sunday Sept. 4, at 2 p.m. in the Smoky Mountain Theater at Lake Pointe Landing Retirement Community, 333 Thompson St., Hendersonville.

About Ken Hanke
Head film critic for Mountain Xpress from December 2000 until his death in June 2016. Author of books "Ken Russell's Films," "Charlie Chan at the Movies," "A Critical Guide to Horror Film Series," "Tim Burton: An Unauthorized Biography of the Filmmaker."

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