The Three Musketeers reunite again. Although, this time under dire circumstances, in the moderately entertaining, but lightweight retelling of the legendary French tale. Handsome production values and a capable cast make the most out of the material, but the film gets bogged down in its over-length and slow pacing. DiCaprio’s rising stardom was the direct result of this film becoming a box-office hit, which says more for the young actor’s drawing power than the virtues of this picture. Braveheart scribe Randall Wallace gets his opportunity to direct resulting in a film which is competent but unspectacular.
The former musketeer Athos (John Malkovich) swears vengeance after despotic King Louis XIV (Leonardo DiCaprio) causes the death of his son. Summoning his old comrades Porthos (Gérard Depardieu) and Aramis (Jeremy Irons), he hatches a plan to liberate a shackled prisoner rumored to be the king’s twin brother, and then install him on the throne. But the three musketeers must also contend with their old friend D’Artagnan (Gabriel Byrne), who has remained in the king’s service.
The Man in the Iron Mask premiered in theaters in the wake of DiCaprio’s star-making turn in Titanic, a film which this battled for pole position at the box-office, and it’s more memorable as a time capsule than as a satisfying film. The defining Musketeer movie of my generation is the 1993 Disney flick. Perhaps, purists are put-off by that last statement, but at least that film had a sense of style and fun. This 1998 retelling of the historical novel is a slow-moving, good-looking, and arduous experience to get through.
Director: Randall Wallace
Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jeremy Irons, John Malkovich