Merci Leonardo DiCaprio!
else but the lightweight Leonardo DiCaprio could play young King Louis XIV on the brink of
the French Revolution, and have it all sound like a chorus of Louie, Louie.
Adapted from The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas, THE
MAN IN THE IRON MASK, with screenplay by Randall Wallace, lacks the two compelling
elements of the 17th century French classic -- intrigue and adventure. Think of the motto
One for all and all for one, and youve got the right story, only Wallace
has padded his version with twin brothers (DiCaprio) who become twice as annoying on
Meet Louis, Frances heroic Sun King. Hes
youthful, cruel, snobbish, and manipulating. Did I mention boring? Hes joined
periodically by his saintly brother Philippe who has been put out to pasture most of his
life not knowing he had royal blood. Just to make sure he cannot venture into the palace,
Louis has him locked him up in a hideous iron mask that would ruin anyones day not
to mention hairstyle. Thats why when we first see his peepers from behind the
disguise, we can only assume this guy is gruesome, or else The SnobzMavens good
friend Jose Eber would have been consulted for the make-over. But show business being what
it is, once Philippe is cleaned up, hes a dead ringer for Guess Who?
DiCaprio, with his interminable Valley Boy twang and foppish looks,
is the last person youd expect to be royalty, but apparently the SnobzMaven was not
asked to be casting director, or she would have also dismissed John Malkovich in the role
of Musketeer Athos, who at times sounds alarmingly like the late Paul Lynde from
On the opposite acting scale is Jeremy Irons as the indignant Aramis
who churns over the wicked machinations of the king, and Gabriel Byrne as the gallant
DArtagnan who is ever loyal to the crown, but who also conceals a secret love. Even
if the picture had centered only on them, wed still have to contend with Gerald
Depardieu as Porthos, the lusty over-the-hill swordsman. While borderline amusing, about
the only phrase you can decipher from the mumbling Frenchman is Eet cannot bee
Since pre-teens dont go to movies for the dialogue, its
not a great loss for them to be locked up, so to speak, with their matinee idol for two
fatiguing hours. But for pre-historics like your Maven, THE MAN IN THE IRON MASK provided
plenty of time to replenish the buttered popcorn and still keep up with the story line
that sickened rather than thickened.
Only when the Musketeers plot to overthrow Louis and replace him with
the kinder, gentler Philippe, is there a hint at action. Coached by Athos, we wait eagerly
for the switcheroo at Versailles when Philippe replaces Louis and claims his birthright.
Of course we know that something will go awry or there wouldnt be any point in
making the film, which brings up why there was any point in making the film. Try on these
three words: Leonardo DiCaprio. Okay, two if you count DiCaprio as one long word.
I am a young king, Louis cries out to DArtagnan. Then be a
good king, he cries back. Eet cannot be dunn.
With love & knishes from The Show Biz Maven.
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