The Man In The Iron Mask (1998)

man_in_the_iron_mask

Aramis, Porthos and Athos formerly of the King’s Musketeers hatch a plot to replace their cold, cruel king with his goodhearted, humble twin brother, driving a wedge between they and the still loyal D’Artagnan.

Fresh from the success of Braveheart, Randall Wallace’s take on the story of the musketeers is a rather flawed affair. His clod-hopping direction and script are severely lacking in subtlety especially during the first act, there are some very unconvincing sets and Leonardo DiCaprio, although not exactly terrible, is clearly miscast. Judith Godreche meanwhile, is exactly terrible. But what saves the film is the great chemistry between its veteran stars; Jeremy Irons, Gerard Depardieu and John Malkovich play off each other brilliantly and the slapstick, knockabout humour which owes more than a small debt to Richard Lester’s classic musketeer films is funny and engaging. The action is a long time coming but is rousing and the cornier elements of the film somehow conspire to give it an old-fashioned charm.

The Man In The Iron Mask is far from perfect but if you are in the mood for an undemanding, fun swashbuckler, you could do a lot worse.

6.5/10

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