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Laramie Movie Scope:
The Man in the Iron Mask

The Musketeers ride again

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by Robert Roten, Film Critic
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March 14, 1998 -- The ever-popular musketeers are back on film again this year with not one, but two versions of "The Man in the Iron Mask" being released this year. This is the one that counts, because it has all the star power.

Speaking of star power, how about Leonardo DiCaprio, who stars in a dual role as the twin kings of France. In case you've been living in a cave you know DiCaprio is the hottest property in Hollywood. He's the only guy who can knock "Titanic" out of first place at the box office. Of course, he also stars in "Titanic," so he's a winner either way.

DiCaprio is ably assisted by more hefty stars, Jeremy Irons as Aramis, John Malkovich as Athos, Gerard Depardieu as Porthos and Gabriel Byrne as D'Artagnan, the four musketeers. Not only are these guys stars, but there's stellar acting talent in this group as well.

Unfortunately, the script doesn't measure up to all that fantastic acting talent. It's a bit slow in places and there are some extraneous characters that really side track the story. More than making up for that lack, however, are good action scenes, wonderful costumes and sets and a very good musical score.

There are also some very funny scenes in this film. Those scenes are a welcome change of pace from some of the darker aspects of the story, including a couple of ugly suicides. There are also some good sword fighting scenes.

I guess one of the problems I had with the film is that the story relies too much on the whole notion of rule by divine right. It made sense when it was written by Alexander Dumas, but that is a hopelessly outmoded notion now. It is impossible to have much sympathy for D'Artagnan's loyalty to the nasty, evil little punk, King Louis XIV. In another era, it would be more understandable. Nevertheless, this is, overall, an entertaining film, primarily because of some outstanding actors. It rates a B.

Click here for links to places to buy this movie in video and/or DVD format, the soundtrack, books, even used videos, games and lots of other stuff. I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.

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Copyright © 1998 Robert Roten. All rights reserved.
Reproduced with the permission of the copyright holder.
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Robert Roten can be reached via e-mail at my last name at lariat dot org. [Mailer button: image of letter and envelope]

(If you e-mail me with a question about this or any other movie or review, please mention the name of the movie you are asking the question about, otherwise I may have no way of knowing which film you are referring to)