Rich in detail and overlapping subplots, strikingly handsome in art direction without getting ostentatious, this particular Count comes to life after Dantès escapes his lengthy incarceration in solitary confinement. Fans of the story know what comes next: Dantès makes his way to an uninhabited island off Italy, where he locates a vast treasure he has heard about. His sudden, phenomenal wealth gives him the means to reward allies, punish enemies and become an architect of events without anyone knowing who's behind them. While Dantès' mind is bent on destroying those who betrayed him, his deeper nature causes him to perform a vast amount of good as well.
Depardieu's big, beefy, clean-shaven self is not exactly the right fit, initially, for a character supposedly subsisting on thin soup for 18 years. He quickly assumes the central role with one of his most knowing and subtle performances, ingeniously painting Dantès as a man who has exchanged one sort of prison for another, the latter his own hatred. The sharp, engaging screenplay is by Didier Decoin (The Chambermaid on the Titanic), and the production is directed with flashes of bold inventiveness by Josée Dayan.--Tom Keogh, Amazon.com
It's Gerard Dep's best performance by absolute miles, its as if he's lived all his life just for this role.
If you're a fan of the book or Dumas' other books you will love this, if you're a fan of a gripping and fascinating story you'll love it, and if you like period pieces or drama, you will love it. If you're bored of the same repeats on TV you could do no better in buying an entertaingin DVD than to get this.
Far far FAR better than the 2002 Guy Pierce remake. Its in a whole other league.
The authenticity is underlined by the inclusion of the full English translation of the original novel in the same case. This is something you simply could not have got away with in any of the film versions.
The series does take a couple of liberties with the plot, but in general they are nuanced alterations required to make it fit the format of television. It also has the very significant advantage of being in French with English subtitles, so most of the dialogue is the original.
What then, of the series itself? Hugely enjoyable. Depardieu is absolutely right for the part, and well supported by Ornella Muti, Jean Rochefort, Pierre Arditi, Sergio Rubini and Florence Darel. Prior to watching this, I had seen two of the films but not read the book. I was left gasping in my chair. With Dumas, plot is everything, and this is probably his best. The production and cast make up for what is probably the author's greatest weakness - he is better at describing passion than he is at showing it, and better at telling us that the situation is tense than actually making us feel the tension.
What about the book, then? It's a little disappointing that we get the English text rather than the French. Even so, the series will lead you naturally into reading. If that itself leads you to finding and reading the French text, so much the better.