The Count of Monte Cristo

Guy Pearce, James Caviezel, Richard Harris

Directed by Kevin Reynolds
Rolling Stone: star rating
5 0
Community: star rating
5 0 0
January 25, 2002

There have been a lot of movies carved out of Alexandre Dumas' epic adventure novel set in the Napoleonic era. But this is surely the first in which the hero, Edmond Dantes (Jim Caviezel), talks street ("You don't get out much, do ya?") and the villain, Fernand (Guy Pearce), tells his disloyal wife she's "a real piece of work."

Welcome to the world Titanic made, where any historical event older than a decade needs to be updated for the youth audience. That said, the new Count moves with the smooth, plastic efficiency of a TV miniseries. Inspiration and originality may be in short supply, but the movie gets the job done. Director Kevin Reynolds, with two Kevin Costner megastinkers on his discredit sheet — we're talking Waterworld and Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves — keeps the action percolating, and the actors play their roles as if there was more than a fat paycheck at stake.

Caviezel, who wandered around in a daze staring at Jennifer Lopez in Angel Eyes, has a livelier time of it as Edmond, the naive young sailor who sits falsely imprisoned in the rat-infested Chateau D'If for thirteen years after his friend Fernand (campily snarled by Memento's Pearce) frames him as a traitor to steal his fiancee, the lovely Mercedes (Dagmara Dominczyk). Jay Wolpert's screenplay is pure connect-the-dots, but the sheer narrative drive of the Dumas tale is undeniable. Edmond stages a daring escape with the help of a cellmate priest, enjoyably hammed by Richard Harris, and takes his role as the noble avenger — the Count of Monte Cristo. If you don't get out much, you'll find it a real piece of work.

Movie Review Main Next


Community Guidelines »
loading comments

loading comments...


Sort by:
    Read More

    Movie Reviews

    • Child of God
      star rating
      Well Go USA Entertainment
    • lucy
      star rating
      Universal Pictures
    • star rating
      IFC Films
    More Reviews »
    Around the Web
    Powered By ZergNet
    Daily Newsletter

    Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

    Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
    marketing partners.


    We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

    Song Stories

    “San Francisco Mabel Joy”

    Mickey Newbury | 1969

    A country-folk song of epic proportions, "San Francisco Mabel Joy" tells the tale of a poor Georgia farmboy who wound up in prison after a move to the Bay Area found love turning into tragedy. First released by Mickey Newbury in 1969, it might be more familiar through covers by Waylon Jennings, Joan Baez and Kenny Rogers. "It was a five-minute song written in a two-minute world," Newbury said. "I was told it would never be cut by any artist ... I was told you could not use the term 'redneck' in a song and get it recorded."

    More Song Stories entries »