Alexandre Dumas’ The Count of Monte Cristo is an epic tale of adventure and revenge. Jim Caviezel portrays Edmond Dantes, the unfortunately gullible sailor who is wrongfully imprisoned for the crime of treason. Well, not that wrongfully, for you see, he was actually committing a crime … he just did not realize it. Just goes to show that Napoleon cannot be trusted! That is beside the point, however. Vengeance is at hand!
Monte Cristo is a wonderful story, and a very competent retelling. Unfortunately, there is not much in the way of surprise. There is no real mystery or discovery. The only satisfaction comes from seeing the baddies get theirs, and they are indeed a bad bunch.
Guy Pearce, as the detestable Fernand Mondego, handles his role with a villainous revelry not seen since Anthony Hopkins took on the part of Hannibal Lecter. Pearce is the weasely, greasy, silver screen evildoer incarnate. It has been a long time since audiences could root for death so maliciously, and with his spot-on performance, Pearce certainly makes it a fate worth wishing upon Fernand.
There is only one problem. Where are the accents? Of course, it is an American movie, but these characters are from France and Italy — fine European nations rich with history and culture. Is it too much to ask for a bit of flavor in the speech? As the Count’s sidekick Jacopo, Luis Guzman provides an excellent comedic foil to Caviezel’s brooding bloodlust, but he sounds like he just got back from the set of Boogie Nights. Are they not actors? It is a minor flaw, but with budgets being what they are, would it have been that much more to hire a speech coach?
Dialects aside, The Count of Monte Cristo provides plenty of beautiful scenery and swashbuckling misadventures. Wonderful locations, a love story of truly Pearl Harborish triangulation, and an alarmingly satisfying resolution, Monte Cristo offers a grand movie going experience.