Le Comte de Monte Cristo (1998)

It has been 3 years since I read Alexandre Dumas' massive classic and so I was excited to watch this 7 hour mini-series. I can't say I was excited to see a gigantic Edmond Dantes in the form of Gérard Dépardieu - he's a great actor, but there are some parts actors should not play.

Dantes is just promoted to captain of a ship and engaged to his true love when three men send him to prison motivated by self-interest. He wastes away in prison for nearly 2 decades when fortune presents itself and he manages to escape. Armed with virtually unlimited funds, the new Count of Monte Cristo meticulously plots his revenge on the three villains - now all very successful Parisians.

Some of the obscure subplots are omitted, but most are kept and this made it a joy to watch. I even squealed with delight a few times.

The film races through the first 1/4 of the book (pre-prison and prison time). This certainly allowed more time for the vengeance, but it failed to adequately show why and how the vengeance was taking place. There were a number of times when the film strayed far from the book. Fortunately, none were crushing for me; they even added depth at times.

All in all, it is apparent that Dépardieu is all too eager to play as many roles of classic French literature. I'm glad that he is such a tremendous actor in order to make up for not being the suitable body type for the role.


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