The Count of Monte Cristo (2002 film)

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The Count of Monte Cristo
The Count of Monte Cristo film.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byKevin Reynolds
Produced byGary Barber
Roger Birnbaum
Jonathan Glickman
Screenplay byJay Wolpert
Based onThe Count of Monte Cristo
by Alexandre Dumas
StarringJim Caviezel
Guy Pearce
Richard Harris
James Frain
Dagmara Dominczyk
Luis Guzmán
Music byEdward Shearmur
CinematographyAndrew Dunn
Edited byStephen Semel
Production
company
Distributed byBuena Vista Pictures
Release date
  • 25 January 2002 (2002-01-25)
Running time
131 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom
United States
Ireland
LanguageEnglish
Budget$35 million
Box office$75.4 million[1]

The Count of Monte Cristo is a 2002 adventure drama film produced by Roger Birnbaum, Gary Barber, and Jonathan Glickman that was directed by Kevin Reynolds. An international co-production between the United States, the United Kingdom, and Ireland, the film is an adaptation of the book of the same name by Alexandre Dumas, père and stars Jim Caviezel, Guy Pearce, and Richard Harris.[2] It follows the general plot of the novel (the main storyline of imprisonment and revenge is preserved); but many aspects, including the relationships between major characters and the ending, have been changed, simplified, or removed; and action scenes have been added. The film met with modest box office success.

Plot[edit]

The Azure Window of Gozo appears in the background of some scenes (picture from 2003)[3]

In 1815, Edmond Dantés, Second Mate of a French merchant vessel, and his friend Fernand Mondego, representative of the shipping company, seek medical help at Elba for their ailing captain. Napoleon Bonaparte, having kept his guardians from killing the pair, exchanges his physician’s services with Edmond for the delivery of a letter. Edmond is sworn to its secrecy, but the exchange is witnessed by Fernand.

In Marseille, the company owner Morrell commends Edmond for his bravery, promoting him to captain over First Mate Danglars, who had given Edmond explicit orders not to land at Elba. Edmond thereafter states his intention to marry his girlfriend, Mercédès, whom Fernand lusts after.

Fernand and Danglar inform on Edmond regarding Bonaparte's letter. Villefort, the city's magistrate, has Edmond arrested, but initially prepares to exonerate Edmond until he learns the letter is addressed to Villefort's father, Monsieur Clarion, a Bonapartist. He burns the letter and orders Edmond imprisoned in Château d'If. Edmond escapes, and turns to Fernand for help, but Fernand instead turns him over to the pursuing Gendarmes. Edmond is consigned to the island prison and its sadistic warden, Armand Dorleac. Villefort has Fernand assassinate his father in exchange for persuading Mercédès that Edmond has been executed for treason and that she should take comfort in Fernand.

Six years later, Edmond is startled in his cell by an eruption in the ground revealing another prisoner. Abbé Faria, who has been imprisoned for 11 years after he refused to tell Bonaparte the whereabouts of the treasure of Spada, has dug an escape tunnel. However, upon seeing that he is in Edmond's cell, he realizes he dug in the wrong direction. In exchange for his help digging a new escape tunnel, Edmond is educated by Faria in all manner of scholarship and swordplay for the next 7 years. Faria dies in a tunnel cave-in but before expiring he reveals a map to the treasure. Edmond escapes by switching himself for Faria's body in the body bag, and is thrown into the sea, pulling Dorleac along with him, whom he drowns.

Floating ashore, Edmond encounters a band of pirates preparing to execute a fellow pirate, Jacopo, (Luis Guzmán). Their leader, Luigi Vampa, decides justice and entertainment would be better served by pitting Edmond and Jacopo in a knife fight. Edmond wins, but spares Jacopo, who swears himself to Edmond for life, and they both work for the pirates until they arrive in Marseille.

Edmond learns from Morrell, who does not recognize him, that Fernand and Danglars are complicit in his betrayal, and that Fernand and Mercédès have wed. With Faria's map, he and Jacopo locate the treasure of Spada. Using his newfound wealth and advanced education, he establishes himself in Parisian society as "The Count of Monte Cristo," and swears vengeance on those who conspired against him.

Edmond ingratiates himself to the Mondegos by staging the kidnap and rescue of their son, Albert (Henry Cavill). He lures Fernand, Villefort and Danglars into a trap by letting slip the notion that he has located the treasure of Spada, and is shipping it through Marseille. His plans result in Danglars being caught red-handed in the act of theft, and Villefort being tricked into revealing his role in his father's death; both are arrested. Fernand is brought to financial ruin as Edmond has his gambling debts called in.

Even though his appearance has dramatically changed, Edmond is recognized by Mercédès. Eventually, she softens him, and they rekindle their relationship. As Fernand prepares to flee, Mercédès reveals the only reason she married him was that she was pregnant with Albert, who is really Edmond’s son.

Edmond ambushes Fernand in the ruins of his family's country estate, having led Fernand to believe that the treasure of Spada would be waiting for him. Albert intervenes when Edmond attempts to kill Fernand, but Mercédès tells him of his true parentage. Fernand attempts to flee, but changes his mind upon realizing that he has nothing left to live for, and challenges Edmond to a fight to death; Edmond prevails.

Edmond purchases Château d'If, intending to raze it, but instead leaves it standing as he swears to Faria to use his vast resources for good.

Cast[edit]

Reception[edit]

The Count of Monte Cristo holds a rating of 74% based on 144 reviews at Rotten Tomatoes with the critical consensus being that, "Though it may not reach for any new artistic heights, The Count of Monte Cristo is an old-fashioned yet enjoyable swashbuckler."[4] At Metacritic, the film received a score of 61 out of 100, with generally favourable reviews.[5]

Roger Ebert gave the film 3 stars out of 4 writing, "The Count of Monte Cristo is a movie that incorporates piracy, Napoleon in exile, betrayal, solitary confinement, secret messages, escape tunnels, swashbuckling, comic relief, a treasure map, Parisian high society and sweet revenge, and brings it in at under two hours, with performances by good actors who are clearly having fun. This is the kind of adventure picture the studios churned out in the Golden Age--so traditional it almost feels new."[6]

Soundtrack[edit]

The Count of Monte Cristo OST
Soundtrack album by Edward Shearmur
Released25 January 2002
Recorded2001
GenreSoundtrack
Length53:03
LabelRCA

The Count of Monte Cristo Official Soundtrack was composed and conducted by Edward Shearmur and performed by the London Metropolitan Orchestra.[7]

Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
SoundtrackNet3.5/5 stars link

References[edit]

  1. ^ "The count of Monte Cristo budget". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2008-09-18.
  2. ^ "The Count of Monte Cristo (2002)". IMDb Pro. Retrieved 2007-02-17.
  3. ^ Khomami, Nadia (8 March 2017). "'It's heartbreaking': Maltese mourn collapse of Azure Window arch". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 8 March 2017.
  4. ^ The Count of Monte Cristo at Rotten Tomatoes
  5. ^ "Count of Monte Cristo, The". Metacritic. Retrieved 2008-02-27.
  6. ^ http://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/the-count-of-monte-cristo-2002
  7. ^ "The Count of Monte Cristo (Soundtrack)". Retrieved 2009-02-07.

External links[edit]