“The Count of Monte Cristo” begins with Edmond Dantes, son of a clerk, and noble blood Fernand Mondego going to shore to save their captain from enemy hands. While trying to locate their captain, Edmund speaks with Napoleon Bonaparte. Napoleon asks Edmond to deliver a personal letter to an old friend when he returns to Marseilles in exchange for medical attention for his captain. An illiterate Edmund agrees. Mondego watches the exchange between the two from a distance. He waits until Edmond falls asleep and reads the letter. The captain dies, Dantes and Mondego return home.
The first mate reports Edmund, second mate, to the head of the Morell & Co. Shipping for disobeying his orders. Edmond was instructed to not go ashore by the first mate. Morrell was impressed by Edmond’s fortitude and promoted him to captain. The first mate was furious. Fernand Mondego became jealous of Edmond’s good fortune and his impeding marriage to Mercedes.
While Edmund and Mercedes make love, Mondego and the first mate get drunk and plot against Edmund. Mondego tells the magistrate about Napoleon’s letter. Edmond was arrested while celebrating with his father and Mercedes.
Edmund pleads his case to the magistrate. The magistrate believes Edmund did not know the letter entailed treasonous plans. However, the letter was addressed to the magistrate’s father. To cover up the knowledge of his father’s betrayal, the magistrate sends Edmond to prison without a trial.
Edmond Dantes escapes the guards who were escorting him and ran to Fernand’s house for help. Fernand confessed his betrayal and beats Edmond in a sword fight. Then, Fernand turned Dantes back over to the authorities.
Charged with murder and high treason, Dantes suffers harsh treatment, bad food, and solitary confinement at Ch¢teau def. He was in Ch¢teau def for four years before he met his dearest friend and mentor who he called Priest. Dantes and Priest hatched a plan to dig themselves out of prison. In between their digs, Priest teaches Edmond how to read, write, and other academics of high education. He also teaches Edmond how to defend himself like a soldier.
During this time, Mercedes married Fernand and bore him a son, Fernand became a count in his own right, Morell lost his shipping company to the treacherous first mate, the magistrate’s father was murdered, and Edmond’s father killed himself.
Just months away from reaching the other wall, Priest died in a cave-in. Before Priest took his last breath, he told Edmond how to find the fortune he was accused of stealing. Not willing to dig for another few months, Edmond uses the Priest’s death to escape prison.
Armed with a loyal Mexican friend and limitless fortune, Edmond Dantes becomes the Count of Monte Cristo. He squeezes himself into high French society to extract his revenge on everyone who betrayed and harmed him starting with the warden at the prison.
Jim Caviezel is a cute Edmond Dantes and a devastatingly handsome and brilliant Count of Monte Cristo. Jim did a great acting job. During the first part of the movie, Jim didn’t display the qualities of being able to play a cunning Count, but he pulled it off with commanding strength and grace.
Guy Pearce’s performance was nothing to sneeze at either. He played the greatest bad guy that could ever live during those times. Pearce delivered his lines with emotion and crisp coldness at the same time, which is necessary for an effective bad guy.
A fabulous period piece movie, which gets five starts from this impressed reviewer.
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