The Count of Monte Cristo

The Count of Monte Cristo ★★★½

“I find that smuggling is the life for me, and would be delighted to kill your friend the maggot!”

Not sure I’d say that the swashbuckler is my gun to head favorite genre but it’s certainly one that I’d have to debate in that situation. I start there because it’s only fair to fess up front to my profound weakness for the type of dark at the bottom of the dungeon turned find your own tree (by way of revenge revenge slash parry) dark romantic cinematic bauble Kevin Reynolds earnest but slick adaption of Alexandre Dumas immortal classic aspires to be … and sadly “they” don’t really make them like they should make them anymore. So, I have always been especially thankful for how close The Count of Monte Cristo comes to full-throated success. Reynolds has never been a great shooter but the film is appropriately lush, and it offers up an excellent cast who were clearly enjoying what it gave them to play with. Harris was practically built in lab for this kind of thing, Guzmán legit made a career of it and Guy Pearce so luxuriates in its opportunities for reptilian villainy its difficult to believe he had to be paid to do so. I can only call out its well-staged but over-short final duel and some unwieldly religiosity as flaws. In the end, it is as Roger Ebert described it, such a traditional example of the adventures of Hollywood’s golden age, it feels new.