The Man in the Iron Mask (I) (1998)

PG-13   |    |  Action, Adventure, Drama


The Man in the Iron Mask (1998) Poster

The cruel King Louis XIV of France has a secret twin brother whom he keeps imprisoned. Can the twin be substituted for the real king?


6.5/10
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  • Leonardo DiCaprio and John Malkovich in The Man in the Iron Mask (1998)
  • Leonardo DiCaprio and Judith Godrèche in The Man in the Iron Mask (1998)
  • Leonardo DiCaprio in The Man in the Iron Mask (1998)
  • Leonardo DiCaprio and Randall Wallace in The Man in the Iron Mask (1998)
  • Gabriel Byrne and Anne Parillaud in The Man in the Iron Mask (1998)
  • Leonardo DiCaprio in The Man in the Iron Mask (1998)

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30 December 2005 | Geofbob
8
| Dumas would have been pleased (perhaps)
This 1998 movie provides everything a swashbuckling cape-and-sword flick should - legendary heroes, a cruel villain, noble sentiments, touches of love and sex, some slapstick, picturesque scenery, sumptuous interiors and of course dashing swordplay (the last perhaps a little limited by the maturity of some of the principals).

It has also some reasonably intelligent dialogue, provided by writer/producer/director, Randall Wallace, and spoken in part by two of the finest voices in the business - Jeremy Irons (Athos) and John Malkovich (Aramis). Gerard Depardieu (Porthos) and Gabriel Byrne (D'Artangnan) are the other two of the original 3 + 1 Musketeers.

The villainy of the young King Louis 14 is provided by Leonardo DiCaprio, who may be too wishy-washy for some tastes, though he certainly has the veneer of elegance needed for the part. One niggle I have is, that it would have been better if he had been instructed to pronounce Athos either with a short a or a long a (preferably the former) and not alternate between the two.

The plot, like the Dumas novel on which it is based, has no less, and no more, credibility than is appropriate for this type of film - for anyone interested in the real events and rumours surrounding the Man in the Iron Mask, I recommend this website - http://www.royalty.nu/legends/IronMask.html

One aspect of the film I find amusing is that in this version of a quintessentially French story, the only French actor in the quartet of heroes, Gerard Depardieu, plays the part of a uncouth, lecherous buffoon; while an Englishman, an American and an Irishman provide the grace, heartfelt speeches and depth of character. I wonder how that went down with the audience in France.

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