The Man In the Iron Mask [Blu-ray]
starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Jeremy
Irons, John Malkovich
Footnotes in movie books are likely to reduce this swashbuckling
adventure down to a simple description: it was the first movie to star
Leonardo DiCaprio after the phenomenal success of Titanic. As such it
automatically attracted a box-office stampede of Leos young female fans,
but critical reaction was deservedly mixed. Having earned his directorial
debut after writing the Oscar-winning script for Mel Gibsons Braveheart,
Randall Wallace wrote and directed this ambitious version of the often-
filmed classic novel by Alexandre Dumas. DiCaprio plays dual role s as the
despotic King Louis XIV, who rules France with an iron fist, and the kings
twin brother, Philippe, who languishes in prison under an iron mask, his
identity concealed to prevent an overthrow of Louis throne. But Louis
abuse of power ultimately enrages Athos (John Malkovich), one of the
original Four Musketeers, who recruits his former partners (Gabriel Byrne,
Gérard Depardieu, and Jeremy Irons) in a plot to liberate Philippe and
install him as the kings identical replacement. Once this plot is set in
motion and the Musketeers are each given moments in the spotlight, the
film kicks into gear and offers plenty of entertainment in the grand style of
vintage swashbucklers. But its also sidetracked by excessive length and
disposable subplots, and for all his post-Titanic star power, the boyish
DiCaprio just isnt yet man enough to be fully convincing in his title role.
Still, this is an entertaining movie, no less enjoyable for falling short of the
greatness to which it aspired. --Jeff Shannon
I can't explain it (I'm not a tween-aged girl) but I truly, deeply love this film,
especially the last half hour. It's not a great film, it's not even a pretty good
film, as a film critic would evaluate it, but there's just something about it.
Most of the cast is really good; even Leonardo isn't all that bad. As to it
being "true to the book"--it's not, so deal with it.
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