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