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The Man in the Iron Mask [Blu-ray] 
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A sensational cast led by Leonardo DiCaprio, Oscar-Winner Jeremy Irons, John Malkovich, Gérard Depardieu and Gabriel Byrne shines in this lavish, action-packed and “wonderful movie (with) great performances”(Access Hollywood od ). It is a time of great splendour...and even greater despair. When the selfish excesses of France’s self-serving King Louis XIV (DiCaprio) go too far and his people are threatened with starvation, retired Musketeers Athos (Malkovich), Porthos (Depardieu) and Aramis (Irons) vow to free a mysterious, masked prisoner who may be France’s only hope for survival. Only one question remains: will their old comrade, the legendary d’Artagnan (Byrne), help them – or destroy them?
Footnotes in film books are likely to reduce this swashbuckling adventure down to a simple description: it was the first movie to star Leonardo DiCaprio after the phenomenal success of Titanic. As such, The Man in the Iron Mask automatically attracted a box-office stampede of Leo's young female fans, but critical reaction was deservedly mixed. Having earned his directorial debut after writing the Oscar-winning script for Mel Gibson's Braveheart, Randall Wallace wrote and directed this ambitious version of the often-filmed classic novel by Alexandre Dumas. DiCaprio plays dual roles as the despotic King Louis XIV, who rules France with an iron fist, and the king's twin brother, Philippe, who languishes in prison under an iron mask, his identity concealed to prevent an overthrow of Louis' throne. But Louis' abuse of power ultimately enrages Athos (John Malkovich), one of the original Four Musketeers, who recruits his former partners (Gabriel Byrne, Gérard Depardieu, and Jeremy Irons) in a plot to liberate Philippe and install him as the king's identical replacement. Once this plot is set in motion and the Musketeers are each given moments in the spotlight, the film kicks into gear and offers plenty of entertainment in the grand style of vintage swashbucklers. But it's also sidetracked by excessive length and disposable subplots, and for all his post-Titanic star power, the boyish DiCaprio just isn't yet "man" enough to be fully convincing in his title role. Still, this is an entertaining film, no less enjoyable for falling short of the greatness to which it aspired. --Jeff Shannon --This text refers to the DVD edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
The comment above on the plot and acting that I've just referred to is not entirely accurate. D'Artagnan is told about the plot by Aramis and the other two backing him, and d'Artagnan will not take part in it. He has his own very important reasons for protecting the King even though that King is such a jerk. However, there are matters about the Man in the Iron Mask which d'Artagnan does not know. It is Aramis who has been in on the secret for many years through being in a certain place at a certain time.
This movie doesn't follow the original book in all respects, only in some. But for me it is a much more exciting version even than the book. I've no doubt Dumas could never have used the most important variation, but that was then, and the movie has been made now.
The film uses melodrama, but this is entirely in keeping with the genre, and without it the impact and moral imperative of the story would definitely be weaker. This is much more than costumes swashing their buckles or buckling their swashes (?): this is heart-wrenching tragedy, high drama, pathos and comedy.
I was on the edge of my seat gripped with fear when it seemed as though heroism would die forever. I wept buckets when D'Artagnan sacrifices himself for his son. My heart leapt with joy again when heroism is resurrected.
If you want to see real politics, turn on the news. If you want to watch real fighting, hang out in the city centre. If you want to be inspired to live to your highest truth, watch The Man in the Iron Mask.
If you like this film you will also like films like the Three Muskateers and Count of Monte Cristo all along the same line of film and all very enjoyable
I returned to the film 15 years later after watching the 2011 atrocity of The Three Musketeers. In retrospect [and the benefit of seeing a lot more films since] the film has its flaws. First, I'm no longer sure who the hero is supposed to be, is it D'Artagnan, Aramis or Philippe?, which left the film feeling a little confused. Second point is the script, with Randall Wallace doing his normal 'Pearl Harbour' job with the dialogue. Dicaprio's performance was fair, but we all know now how good he can be.
If you like Braveheart or The Eagle, this is an enjoyable movie. Thankfully DVD's and Blu-Rays are harder wearing!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I love historic films and this one is one of the finest. And the cast is fantastic!!Published 14 days ago by Cristin Salion