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The Man in the Iron Mask
The Man in the Iron Mask (1998)
Movie
  • Director:
    Randall Wallace
  • Category:
  • Writer:
    Alexandre Dumas,Randall Wallace
  • Cast:
    Leonardo DiCaprio,Jeremy Irons,John Malkovich
  • Time:
    2h 12min
  • Budget:
    $35,000,000
  • Year:
    1998
Paris is starving, but the King of France is more interested in money and bedding women. When a young soldier dies for the sake of a shag, Aramis, Athos and Porthos band together with a plan to replace the king. Unknown to many, there is a 2nd king, a twin, hidden at birth, then imprisoned for 6 years behind an iron mask. All that remains now is D'Artagnan, will he stand against his long time friends, or do what is best for his country?
Casts
Cast overview, first billed only:
Leonardo DiCaprio Leonardo DiCaprio - King Louis / Phillippe
Jeremy Irons Jeremy Irons - Aramis
John Malkovich John Malkovich - Athos
Gérard Depardieu Gérard Depardieu - Porthos (as Gerard Depardieu)
Gabriel Byrne Gabriel Byrne - D'Artagnan
Anne Parillaud Anne Parillaud - Queen Anne
Judith Godrèche Judith Godrèche - Christine (as Judith Godreche)
Edward Atterton Edward Atterton - Lieutenant Andre
Peter Sarsgaard Peter Sarsgaard - Raoul
Hugh Laurie Hugh Laurie - King's Advisor
David Lowe David Lowe - King's Advisor
Brigitte Boucher Brigitte Boucher - Madame Rotund
Matthew Jocelyn Matthew Jocelyn - Assassin
Karine Belly Karine Belly - Wench
Emmanuel Guttierez Emmanuel Guttierez - King's Friend

The Man in the Iron Mask (1998)

There was a real masked prisoner at La Bastille, but rather than a twin brother, more recent conspiracy theories have him being Louis XIV's biological father. The official story of Louis' conception was that King Louis XIII, long separated from Queen Anne, was going to his hunting lodge and had packed stuff that he would need. It started raining and since the Queen had the only bed suitable for the King they slept together, conceiving the heir. The conspiracy theory is that Cardinal Richelieu convinced the Queen to have an affair with a "sperm donor," who then was sent off to Canada, but later returned to France and tried to extort money for his silence. The motive for the plan was that Richelieu feared that civil war would break out if the King died childless to be succeeded by his foolish brother Gaston. But the sperm donor theory is just hearsay and probably not true. Queen Anne might have had an affair, but she and Richelieu did not work together because they hated each other. Louis XIV also resembled Louis XIII enough to ensure to most people that he was a true biological son.

Although Louis XIV, who was a real king, is a prominently featured character in the movie, the closing credits state that all characters are fictitious. This statement involves a loophole common to movies of this nature. The film portrayal diverges considerably from authentic descriptions of the real person, so the character is fictitious in the sense that the words and actions of the character are not claimed to be things that the real person said and did.

Each of the four Musketeers are played by actors with different nationalities. Jeremy Irons is English, John Malkovich is American, Gérard Depardieu is French and Gabriel Byrne is Irish.

In the book, the motives of Bishop Aramis are far less noble than those portrayed in the film. In the story, Aramis plots to replace Louis with Philippe as part of a master plan to have Philippe appoint Aramis as cardinal, and an eventual candidate for Pope. Aramis also has hopes to stack the Louis cabinet with allies leading to further power and a possible appointment of Aramis as prime minister.

Alexandre Dumas, the author of the book for which this is based, adapted his novel on a historical account of a mysterious prisoner in the Bastille who was forced to wear a leather mask on special occasions for the two years between his imprisonment and subsequent death. The idea that he was a royal lookalike comes from a jest made by the historian Voltaire in the mid 18th century, about 70 years after the historical events.

Aramis' statement, "I am a genius, not an engineer," is a pun in the original French ("Je suis un génie, pas un ingénieur").

Leonardo DiCaprio's mask was made out of polystyrene.

Even though Gabriel Byrne in the role of D'artagnan is supposed to be in character as much younger than the older Musketeers, Byrne, Jeremy Irons, and Gérard Depardieu are in fact almost the same age. Irons and Depardieu were both born in 1948. Byrne was born in 1950. John Malkovich was born in 1953 making him the actual youngest of the four men.

This is the third in a trilogy of the Alexandre Dumas novels about the adventures of Athos, Porthos, and Aramis, which also include 'The 3 Musketeers' and 'Twenty Years After'.

Alexandre Dumas's novel The Vicomte of Braggelone, on which this film is based, has also been filmed as The Fifth Musketeer (1979). which featured José Ferrer, who preceded Gérard Depardieu as Cyrano de Bergerac (1950).

Anthony Hopkins was the first choice of Randall Wallace to play Aramis. Though he turned it down due to filming commitments with Zorro mask (1998). Sam Neill and Alan Rickman were also considered for the role before Jeremy Irons accepted the part.

When Aramis (in his priest disguise) speaks Italian, the Italian dubbed version has him speaking Spanish instead.

MGM discovered the audience the movie attracted was "directly related to appeal of Leonardo DiCaprio", being 55% female and 46% under the age of 25.

Gérard Depardieu's son Guillaume Depardieu and daughter Julie Depardieu also appeared together in a Musketeer film: they played Athos and Constance in Milady (2004).

In the movie, Athos has a son named Raoul who falls in love with a girl named Christine. The same names as the lovers in Gaston Leroux's "The Phantom of The Opera."

Judith Godrèche landed her role because Randall Wallace was a fan of her work in Ridicule (1996).

The film cast includes two Oscar winners: Leonardo DiCaprio and Jeremy Irons; and two Oscar nominees: John Malkovich and Gérard Depardieu.

The character D'Artagnan also appears in the play Cyrano de Bergerac (1990), which has also been filmed with Gérard Depardieu.

Kevin Kline passed on the opportunity to play Athos.

One of two 1998 movies with the same title, based on the same novel. The other was The Man in the Iron Mask (1998).

Some of the filming was done at the Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte, located in Maincy, near Melun, 55 kilometers (34 mi) southeast of Paris. It was built between 1658 and 1661, for Nicolas Fouquet, Marquis de Belle Île, Viscount of Melun and Vaux, the superintendent of finances of Louis XIV. Fouquet celebrated the completion of the château with a most extravagant feast, at which every guest was given a horse. King Louis however felt upstaged by the grandeur of the home, the event and suspecting that such magnificence could only be explained through Fouquet's pilfering the royal treasury, had d'Artagnan arrest Fouquet. d'Artagnan was assigned to guard him for four years until Fouquet was sentenced to life imprisonment. Soon after this, d'Artagnan was promoted to captain-lieutenant of the Musketeers.

Leonardo DiCaprio previously starred in the lead role of the 1997 movie Titanic, about the sinking of the RMS Titanic. His co-star in this film, Edward Atterton, would later star in the lead role of the 2000 television film Britannic, which is about the sinking of the Titanic's sister ship, the HMHS Britannic.

This film is one of the few, if not only film versions, that features the subplot of Louis XIV stealing Raoul's fiancée from him. The story plays out differently, however. Christine was originally Louise de la Valliere, a historical figure who was in fact Louis's mistress, and according to some document had previously been involved with a man called Bragelonne, on whom Raoul was based. In the book Louis does not send Raoul to Africa to be killed. He is instead sent to England on a diplomatic mission, and is recalled only when Louis's previous lover, Princess Henrietta Stuart (wife of his brother Philippe d'Orleans) calls him back. Raoul takes part in the conspiracy to replace Louis with Philippe (the twin), which ultimately fails. Sometime after this, he realizes that Louise loves Louis in return, and the heartbroken Raoul accepts a position with the King's cousin, Beaufort, in Africa, where he commits a kamikaze maneuver.

Although the book is often published under the title The Man in the Iron Mask, Philippe is not made to wear the mask throughout the book. Though he is imprisoned in the Bastille at the start, it is only after the failed attempt to supplant Louis with him that Louis gives the order to have his face covered.

Gardall
Gardall
I never saw this movie in the theaters (it seemed like another Leo-mania "no REAL talent" type of film), but I remember a friend recommending it to me one night about 5 years back. Since I love sword fighting movies/3 musketeer flicks, I just had to give it a try. Plus, I had seen the previews, and they looked interesting. Well, let me tell you...from the opening scene to the ending credits, I was hooked with this film! It grabbed my attention, and was just pure fun!! I don't know why this movie got such a low rating on IMDB. It may not be a "masterpiece", but it's surely a great, fun, entertaining film!

First of all, the cast is great. I mean, have you seen so many good actors in one film?? Byrnes, Depardieu, Malcovich, DiCaprio, and Irons. All such a WONDERFUL cast, with good acting. I liked Leo's duel roles too. At first I thought it would be cheesy, but Leo delivered it well! He played both roles of Louis (bad king) and Phillipe (good king) so diversely! I liked how he had you loving one king, and totally despising the other! Someone also mentioned the way Leo totally changed characters with his "eyes". THe "EYES" say a lot, and Leo nailed it. I almost had to ask myself if this was the SAME actor playing Phillipe!

The plot was good (eh...might have been predictable, but still...great), the cinematagraphy was awesome, the music was moving, the sword fighting/action was cool! I absolutely loved Gabriel Byrnes in this movie. He was so great as D'Artagnan (sp?). John Malcovich was perfect for his role of Athos too. I really felt his pain. I have both the VHS (older) and the DVD version (hey, it was on sale for 9 bucks!! lol) of The Man In The Iron Mask, and the DVD version (although not a whole lot of extras) has a nice directors commentary. It really tells the director's vision for the film and all the behind the scene info. I STILL can't believe that this movie was his FIRST film!!

Very entertaining movie. I really don't know why people dogged this movie so much. It was SOOOO much better than that "OTHER" more RECENT musketeer movie that came out called "THE Musketeer". UGghgh...what a dissapointment!

But The Man In The Iron MASK is DEFINITELY a movie worth giving a try.
Yla
Yla
The Man in the Iron Mask, fresh off the massive success of Titanic, we got the next movie starring huge heart throb Leonardo DiCaprio along with some of Hollywood's strongest male leads. Including a couple of my favorite actors John Malkovich and Jeremy Irons, so this was a movie I was looking forward to seeing, not to mention I was 13 at the time of this release and was totally in love with Leonardo DiCaprio, oh yes, good times. So of course this movie was love at first site with me, but as I grew up and watched the movie without my crush influence, I still found it to be a good solid movie. Leonardo stays strong as his first duo role as King Louis and Philippe and proves he can stand up with the heavyweights of Hollywood. Jeremy and John together with Leonardo had great chemistry and made The Man in the Iron Mask a really good watchable movie.

France is under the reign of King Louis XIV, who is bankrupting the country with his unpopular wars. When starving peasants in Paris start to riot for food, he responds by ordering his chief adviser, to send them rotten food. Meanwhile, the King wallows in hedonistic luxury while seducing a parade of women. The legendary three musketeers have retired from their posts: Aramis is now a priest of the Jesuit Order; Porthos is running a Parisian brothel; Athos has a son named Raoul who is just back from the war and ready to marry the girl he loves, Christine. At a festival, the two lovers are greeted by an older D'Artagnan, just before Raoul can propose, the King's eyes fall on Christine. He arranges for Raoul to be returned to combat and killed in a suicidal charge. In the wake of Raoul's death, Aramis initiates a plot to overthrow the King with the help of his old comrades. Only Athos and Porthos agree to the plan; D'Artangan refuses to betray his oath of allegiance. The three musketeers sneak into an island prison and arrange the escape of a mysterious prisoner: a man in an iron mask. Philippe, the identical twin of King Louis. While he looks indistinguishable from his brother, Philippe is compassionate and gentle and the plan is to replace Louis with Philippe.

While I've expressed my love for John and Jeremy, the true talent comes out in Gabriel Byrne's performance as well as Leonardo DiCaprio. Gabriel as D'Artagnan was just beautiful, charming, dashing, and very charismatic. While the movie could have had a little better direction, in some ways this felt more like a made for TV film at times, just with the big names. I'd say that's the movie's main flaw, but they were not given a big budget to make it into a great movie. Also the fact that Leonardo as Philippe, they take the iron mask off his face and he's still pretty! Eh, still I'd highly recommend it, it's the actors that make this movie very delightful to watch, one for all and all for one… this movie is just tons of fun! Hey, that almost rhymes, I made a funny! OK, there's my cheesy joke, I'm done, just watch the movie.

8/10
Zyniam
Zyniam
Without ever attaining indisputable literary merit, Alexandre Dumas, succeeded in gaining a great reputation first as a dramatist and then as a historical novelist, especially for such works as 'The Count of Monte Cristo,' and 'The Three Musketeers.' He was among the first, along with Honoré de Balzac and Eugène Sue, who fully presented a rich, detailed picture of life in early 19th century - France, creating characters of formidable individuality and willpower...

'The Man in the Iron Mask' takes place in 1662, where a spoiled young king rules in decadent luxury while his subjects are starving in the streets... His armies fight unjust wars... His selfish actions result in deep resentment by the people... He is currently under siege by rebellions... His tyrannical disposition prompts the original 'Three Musketeers' to believe that France will never prosper unless a change is made... Our musketeers have all grown into middle age, and their exploits have become legendary...

When the son of Athos is sent to the front lines of battle, and killed the aging 'Three Musketeers' (Athos, Porthos and Aramis ) are forced to haul out their old uniforms into active rebellion against the crown... They come up with a plan to expel the tyrant from his throne... A carefully guarded secret works to their advantage...

Aramis knows of an enigmatic Bastille prisoner, a helpless victim of the king's justice, whose true identity and existence is unknown to most... This mysterious young man has been thrown into loneliness and pain in a dungeon for six years, forced to wear an affixed iron mask so no-one can notice how much he looks like the king...

In a risky maneuver to save France, the 'Three Musketeers' break the title character out of prison, teach him to behave exactly like the king, and then set off to make the 'switch' in a masquerade ball...

As their plan unfolds, they must confront their friend, the great D'Artagan, one-time "fourth Musketeer," now head of the king's bodyguards, who has sworn an oath to protect the king with his life...

DiCaprio plays two characters so distinctly and effectively that you absolutely hate one and love the other...

He is King Louis, a non-caring leader who lets his subjects starve and riot in the streets of Paris... He is a vile ice-hearted seducer mostly interested in bedding attractive young women... He displays, with talent, King Louis' arrogance and cruelty... DiCaprio is also the gentle Philippe, the polar opposite of Louis... Philippe has the heart of a king, with eyes asking too much...

Gerard Depardieu is delightful as the old and weak Porthos, the womanizer, more concerned with the pains of growing older... Porthos feels useless unable even to "straighten his sword" when in the hay with three women...

John Malkovich is the straightforward Athos, now an impulsive widower and an angry father who has his own need for revenge against the King's treachery... Two time Oscar nominee for "Places in the Heart" and "In the Line of Fire," Malkovich makes the point that ideally, they should have a king worthy of their service...

Jeremy Irons is the contemplative Aramis, the justice leader of a silent rebellion.... As the Jesuits oppose Louis' wars, and the starvation that results, Aramis is ordered to discover the true identity of the general of the Jesuit's order and to execute him... In one moment, Jeremy Irons (an Oscar winner for 1990's "Reversal of Fortune"), dignifies the true mission of a Musketeer when he states: 'When we were young men, and we saw injustice, we fought it!'

Gabriel Byrne is the faithful D'Artagnan who carries a mysterious secret with him... His dark romantic secrets are hidden in his sad look... Byrne has the right combination of gravity and flair for the conflicted D'Artagnan, especially in the scene where he placates an angry mob... He projects his character's romantic frustration and his crisis of conscience, and desperately tries to find a balance between his loyalty to the king and his ability to live up to the code of the Musketeers...

Anne Parillaud is the twins' mother, Anne d'Autriche, torn between her passion and her maternal love toward a son completely far from the path of compassion and honor...

Judith Godrèche is the damsel in distress, the beautiful Christine torn between being faithful to her dead love and helping out her poor family by basically selling her body to a lusting king...

The film's authenticity and visual presentation are as glorious in the decadent luxury surrounding the King of France as grotesque in the terrible place occupied by the man in the iron mask...

Randall Wallace (Oscar-nominated for "Braveheart's" script) brings the great palace of Versailles to life with elegance and finesse... The beauty of the gardens defies verbal explanation... The music is beautiful and epic, and the motion picture is done with pride and conviction...

The masked prisoner actually existed in reality... But his identity was never known and it's of little consequence here... The film, however, is not exactly faithful when it comes to historical facts... It has been created for pleasant entertainment purposes... Louis XIV of France, whose great prestige earned him the title of 'the Sun King', ruled France in one of its most brilliant periods and remains the symbol of absolute monarchy of the classic age...
Doath
Doath
When this film started playing in theaters in March 1998, I thought: this is going to be another overrated film that Leo Di Caprio is in...so I avoided going to see it. But I decided to rent it yesterday, since I was in the mood to watch a period film. Was I surprised! I really enjoyed watching this film. Although it did have a few flaws here and there, it is still a very worthwhile and enjoyable film. The costumes were nice, yes, but the sets were even better. The cinematography was outstanding. Who cares if it "was not true" to the Alexandre Dumas novel--film adaptions of famous novels never are true to the books. This film didn't do so well at the box office because it started playing in theaters at a time when all of the Titanic hype was still taking place. Perhaps The Man in the Iron Mask should've been released in the fall of 98--I bet more people would've gone to see it in theaters. If you haven't seen this film, rent it. It's both an enjoyable story and a visual wonder. See it at least twice!
Vareyma
Vareyma
I was wary... VERY WARY... due to the fact of DiCaprio's role(s).... Anything was better than the book however.... The musketeers were incredibly well-cast, Irons making up for my original hostility for Aramis and Malkovich, Depardieu, and Byrne giving me greater reason to respect these four men of chivalry and honour. Lee D. on the other hand.... well, what can I say? He downplayed both characters, with Philippe is was immensely effective, with LouisXIV a travesty of performing. The mask was perhaps the most attractive bit of metal put together in any movie version. Besides the initial appearance, it looked the most "functional." After I swallowed my Pride and Prejudice I rented it, watched it, thought about it, then bought it. Can I say more? Accurate costuming, GREAT SCRIPT!!! A great movie for a "video-rental night."
Gashakar
Gashakar
I have read the book many times, and nobody could ever measure up to how I saw d'Artagnan - until now. Gabriel Byrne played him exactly the way I imagined him to be when I read the book. How gallant! Never has anyone played a more beautiful love scene - short though it was - it left one craving more. Anne Parillaud was beautiful.

The rest of the Musketeers were perfectly cast. Did anyone notice the Lieutenant André's devotion to d'Artagnan throughout the film before he delivered his famous line at the end of the film?

Not crazy about Leo di Caprio, but he was pretty good as Louis XIV, but he never won me over as Philippe until d'Artagnan died. Leo's reaction was spontaneous.

I never get tired of watching this movie. It's even better on DVD.
Muniath
Muniath
The only problem with this movie that the plot is a bit implausible, but nevertheless, everything was great. I must say that I've seen this movie more times than any movie in the world and i still say it's great. It has a star-studded cast, and all of them did an excellent acting job (DiCaprio, Byrne, Malkovich, Depardieu and Irons). This is a perfect ensemble cast, it's as if the roles were written for the actors. The acting was just well done. The events are exciting and sometimes heart-wrenching, the music is great, and the dialogue is truly, truly exceptional. Trust me, after watching this movie at least 18 times, I've realized that the dialogue is just superb. I very much recommend the movie, however, the story is very, very far from the original book by Alexander Dumas.
Qwne
Qwne
Leonardo DiCaprio is "The Man in the Iron Mask" and also King Louis XIV in this re-telling of the famous Dumas story. He is surrounded in a sumptuous production by a stellar cast that includes Gabriel Byrne, John Malkovich, Gerard Depardieu and Jeremy Irons. The oft-filmed plot concerns the twin brother of the cruel, selfish Louis IV who is guarded loyally by D'Artagnan. Phillipe, the twin, was taken from his mother at birth and once found by the King, imprisoned and placed in an iron mask to hide his identity. When the poverty and the uprisings become too much, Aramis (Irons), who knows of Phillipe's existence, breaks him out of prison with the help of Porthos (Depardieu) and Athos (Malkovich) with the idea of having him replace Louis at an upcoming masquerade ball. It falls to Athos, who has just lost his son Raoul in war because of Louis' lust for Raoul's fiancée, to teach Philippe how to be king in a short time. Things do not go as planned.

This tremendous cast and huge production make for absorbing viewing, different yet as entertaining as the Richard Chamberlain TV version and the Louis Hayward version in the 1930s. Here the emphasis is on the old Musketeers, which works well - Porthos who feels his age and misses the old lusts, the grieving Athos and Aramis, given an impossible job by Louis, which means that Louis must go; and, of course, D'Artagnan, fiercely loyal to his King and insisting that he can be molded into a great ruler, despite evidence to the contrary. The acting is fabulous - there really isn't a standout among the four men as they are all so good.

Leonardo DiCaprio creates two completely different characters with Louis and Philippe and does an excellent job. Though he was trending toward matinée idol/chick flick territory, he pulled himself out to take on weightier roles - though there's no doubt this film was meant to bring in the teenagers. And what's wrong with that - a classic story once in a while won't kill them.

Entertaining viewing.
Lanionge
Lanionge
This 1998 movie provides everything a swashbuckling cape-and-sword flick should - legendary heroes, a cruel villain, noble sentiments, touches of love and sex, some slapstick, picturesque scenery, sumptuous interiors and of course dashing swordplay (the last perhaps a little limited by the maturity of some of the principals).

It has also some reasonably intelligent dialogue, provided by writer/producer/director, Randall Wallace, and spoken in part by two of the finest voices in the business - Jeremy Irons (Athos) and John Malkovich (Aramis). Gerard Depardieu (Porthos) and Gabriel Byrne (D'Artangnan) are the other two of the original 3 + 1 Musketeers.

The villainy of the young King Louis 14 is provided by Leonardo DiCaprio, who may be too wishy-washy for some tastes, though he certainly has the veneer of elegance needed for the part. One niggle I have is, that it would have been better if he had been instructed to pronounce Athos either with a short a or a long a (preferably the former) and not alternate between the two.

The plot, like the Dumas novel on which it is based, has no less, and no more, credibility than is appropriate for this type of film - for anyone interested in the real events and rumours surrounding the Man in the Iron Mask, I recommend this website - http://www.royalty.nu/legends/IronMask.html

One aspect of the film I find amusing is that in this version of a quintessentially French story, the only French actor in the quartet of heroes, Gerard Depardieu, plays the part of a uncouth, lecherous buffoon; while an Englishman, an American and an Irishman provide the grace, heartfelt speeches and depth of character. I wonder how that went down with the audience in France.
Moronydit
Moronydit
Who the heck is Randall Wallace if not one of the greatest comic filmmakers of our time who apparently does not know where his true talent lies? This film offers a prime example of the man's inborn grasp of gut-wrenching hilarity dolled up as piously dull and historically ignorant entertainment. In other words for those willing to forget the serious intent of the movie it is a guaranteed laugh riot from the start to finish. This absurd remake reveals Mr. Wallace is not only a multi-talent-less director, writer, and producer, but he is also someone with an uncanny knack for transforming mature but nonetheless top talents –– Gerard Depardieu, Gabriel Byrne, Jeremy Irons and John Malkovich in this case –– into automaton-like hacks. To be fair, these otherwise fine actors must have been paid handsomely before they agreed to take part in such drivel even as they appear to be thumbing their noses at this inane production by reading their ridiculous lines ice cold as if off of a teleprompter. In truth the actors seem to be desperately holding back either tears of hilarity or tears of abject humiliation. Still, the real question here is this: does this man even know what a ridiculous hoot he has given birth to? The answer is: certainly not. In sum, you should spare yourself if at all possible. However, if you must indulge, then the best thing to do is to watch this defectively fitted costumed comedy with Mr. Wallace's senseless "commentary" turned on as background sound effect. I promise instant spasms of watery-eyed laughter as he piously defends the serious intent of his efforts. In all honestly, the clearest assessment of Mr. Wallace's version of the Man in the Iron Mask is best summarized early on in the film by the loud and resounding flatulence hilariously delivered by Mr. Depardieu's character. If only the rest of the film lived up to that exceptional moment of innovation.
Beabandis
Beabandis
I almost don't know where to start in criticizing this film. Nearly everything about it--I am not exaggerating--is utterly terrible.

DiCaprio, for example, offers one of the finest examples of miscasting I have ever seen. Not for one instant does he come across as a monarch, let alone Louis XIV, one of the most adamant believers in the divine right of kings who ever lived. He has literally *no* royal presence. DiCaprio not only looks far too young (he looks like a boy who would still be at the girls are "icky" stage of life, not seducing everyone at court), he makes no attempt to speak like anything but a young, modern American male--at one point, his Louis actually finishes a sentence with "huh?"

But perhaps I should not assume that DiCaprio slipped that in on his own. Given the bargain-basement level of the rest of the dialogue, I can easily believe that writer-director Randall Wallace penned that "huh" himself. Top-notch actors like Jeremy Irons, Gabriel Byrne and John Malkovich must have been choking on their lines; Malkovich's flat performance does make it seem like he was bored out of his mind. I can only hope that the French members of the cast, including Gerard Depardieu, didn't realize just how bad their dialogue was.

My personal favorite was Byrne's statement to Queen Anne (Anne Parillaud): "I know that to love you is a crime against France, but not to love you is crime against my heart." I literally rolled off my chair laughing. That isn't even historically accurate: at that point, the Queen was a widow and no one would have cared a whit if she was sleeping with everyone in the court.

Such overblown statements and actions are rampant throughout the film. Rioting peasants toss an apple at D'Artagnan; he not only slices it with his sword, he catches it on the blade and deftly takes a bite. The scene is so ludicrously melodramatic, it must be seen to be believed.

My list of possible complaints is endless, but to wrap up with just a few: the cast members' accents are all over the place, the music overwrought and the entire film far too long. I sincerely advise all readers to avoid this movie, unless you're teaching a class on how not to make a film.
Ariurin
Ariurin
We didn't expect much here, so it was one of these experiences where you are pleasantly surprised. I would mention Irons and Depardieu first because they are just great. I suppose Depardieu has performed in comic roles before but I don't recall them and so was quite pleased and amused with his grace and charm in such a role. Irons is imposing and has more gravitas that anyone else in the film. Byrne is strong and a pleasure to watch. These top performers take this material and make it delightful. DiCaprio is a talented young man, I suppose, but my personal demographics are in the periphery of his fan base (wrong sex, wrong age). I'm no Malkovich fan, but he was not a sufficient detraction to me to offset my enjoyment of the others. Over all, the film is a lot of fun--a really nice film.
Scream_I LOVE YOU
Scream_I LOVE YOU
Variously uninspired, overblown and mawkish, and thoroughly predictable. Each actor seems to be in a different film--be it romantic epic, slapstick comedy or overblown family drama. As expected, Leonardo DiCaprio as Louis XIV/Philippe is entirely inappropriate for the part, intended to drag in hordes of young girls to see a film they otherwise wouldn't look twice at, given the general calibre (and age) of the rest of the cast. Only Jeremy Irons as the pious Aramis and Gabriel Byrne (who cannot quite suppress his surly Gaelic growl for love nor money, it seems) as the fiercely loyal D'Artagnan manage to conjure any measure of gravitas. I am as willing to suspend my disbelief as the next person, given a decent yarn and spirited performances, yet the colourful menagerie of modern accents, especially American (DiCaprio and Malkovich in particular), abounding in the 17th century Parisian court never failed to jar me out of what turned out to be rather a waste of two hours.

It's already been mentioned by several other reviewers, but the final preposterous scene where the Musketeers valiantly (and suicidally) charge face-first into a battery of musket-fire and emerge none the worse for it just nails the lid on the proverbial coffin--especially when one of the leads, figuratively tossing Dumas' novel out of the window, stamping on it and setting fire to it, promptly expires from what is apparently a flesh wound to the shoulder seconds later. There are a handful of equally ridiculous little incidents scattered throughout the film that are far more likely to elicit a derisive scoff than an awed gasp. When D'Artagnan, lingering beneath the Queen Mother's window, contemplatively fingers a red rose before riding off to probable death, I half expected him to fling it with unerring accuracy and have it land neatly in her hair, or something similarly ludicrous. Another scene is an instructive lesson in crowd control: simply wow the rioting mob with a bit of implausible swordplay and they'll all turn around and meekly shuffle back home.

Typical Hollywood schlock: a waste of time, money and reputable actors. Take it as a sign that I've already run out of synonyms for 'ridiculous' in two short paragraphs. Watch if you absolutely must, but turn the sound off all the same.
Kabei
Kabei
What a waste of great talent and a suspenseful, swashbuckling classic!

Aside from the passionate performance by Gabriel Byrne, the rest of the cast cakewalk through their lackluster performances. The direction, the pacing, the romance, the sword-play are all dull. We don't get involved enough into the musketeers and their motives, because the director doesn't care enough about them. He doesn't put enough heart in the action and doesn't inspire strong performances from some of the greatest actors working today.

Instead of wasting time on this boring remake, rent "The Three Musketeers" from 1973. This would demonstrate what a good time can be had from a Dumas adaption, when you get a director with a flair for high adventure.
Opilar
Opilar
This is a well-made, polished-looking version of another famous Alexander Dumas 'Three Muskateers" story and looked great on DVD when it came out in the earlier days of that format.

This is an old tale of the Muskateers in latter days and the efforts to get rid of an evil king, Louis XIV and replace him with his twin brother. Both roles are played by Leonardo Di Caprio. The twin had been unjustly imprisoned and put in an iron mask for years.

The film has an interesting cast of international actors: DiCaprio and John Malkovich from the United States; Jermey Irons from Britain; Gerald DePardieu, Anne Parillaud and Judith Godreche, all from France and Cabriel Byrne from Ireland.

Malkovich, as usual, plays the most interesting character. Parillaud plays Louis' mother and she's too young-looking for that role.

This is a fairly long movie and doesn't have an overabundance of action but doesn't need to, to keep one's attention. Randall Wallace, of "Braveheart" fame, directed this - another plus for the movie.
Mullador
Mullador
Without it being the best movie I have ever seen, I actually liked this film. I wasn't expecting a masterpiece, and I didn't get that. Instead I got a fun film, with flaws, but it was enjoyable enough.

Starting with the many good things, the cinematography is superb, as is the lavish scenery and costumes. The music is very rousing and moving, and the sword play is energetic. Also I thought the direction was fine, same with the acting. Gabriel Byrne is surprisingly good as D'Artagnan(much more suited to the part than Chris O'Donnell-the worst D'Artagnan, though I actually liked the movie- was). Even better were Jeremy Irons and Gerard Depardieu as Aramis and Porthos. John Malkovich was good too, if perhaps a little too fey to start with. Leonardo DiCaprio was somewhat uneven in his performance but he was good on the whole, personally I felt he was better as Phillippe in alternative to Louis, he never quite convinced me playing an arrogant king whereas he succeeded with Phillippe because of that spontaneous boyish charm he has.

However, the film is a little too long and the pacing is also uneven, I felt the film dragged in the middle and then it felt a tad rushed at the end. While the story is solid enough and sticks relatively faithful to the story, which is brilliant on a side note to those not familiar with it, it can get implausible with one or two soap-opera-ish qualities about it. Finally, the script does have one too many weak spots, one or two parts are a little too cheesy for my liking.

On the whole though, this is an above average and fun film. Maybe not the best for those who adore the book, but as an introduction to the story it is good enough. 7/10 Bethany Cox
AnnyMars
AnnyMars
I saw this coupled with "Revolutionary Road."

After "Titanic," Kate chose an amazing project. Its the unappreciated "Hideous Kinky." Its deep, appearing to be shallow and undirected just as the character seems to be. But I find it strangely hypnotic each time I see it. She went in that direction and generally has made intelligent choices about what she does, poor Leonardo has made a mess of his career.

He knows how to be intense. Actually that is the only thing he is truly good at, but it is only recently that he has discovered how to channel that for many uses. At this time in his career: after "Gilbert Grape" and before "Romeo + Juliet," he was truly awful.

We can't blame this whole disaster on him; there are many screwups. But wow, he is so inept, so untuned to the narrative, so out of touch of what is needed that if all else were right, he would spoil the thing. Interestingly, that is the complete opposite of what the story brings; his character is so intrinsically, so intuitively right that he changes history, changes the world.

This is a replacement comment, the original having been deleted by a vindictive user.

I often fail to understand why John Malkovich gets work. He makes deCaprio look good here.

Ted's Evaluation -- 1 of 3: You can find something better to do with this part of your life.
riki
riki
After the three musketeers Disney movie, a horrible new version of the classic Dumas story, I was hesitant to go see this movie, starring Leonardo, but with a great supporting cast. My feelings were right: Man in the Iron Mask is tedious and lacks suspense, and avoids the political background the Dumas story had. The great support actors are sadly wasted. The typical ending is another great example of how not to do it. I should have avoided this.
Joony
Joony
The picture is a new version of Alexandre Dumas novel and is set in 17th century French court , where two twins , one evil monarch , Louis XIV (DiCaprio) of France , and the other , Phillippe , (DiCaprio in a dual role) is imprisoned in the Bastilla as an incarcerated inmate , number 6943800 , that hides his identity wearing an iron mask . Both of whom are sons of the Queen Mother Anne (Anne Parillaud) . The King falls for a beautiful girl (Judith Godreche) and while Athos (Peter Sarsgaard) leads to the summit of the dreary musketeers , thus : the brave Dartagnan (Gabriel Byrne) ; the responsible father Athos (John Malkovich) ; the joker (though with flatulence) Portos(Gerard Depardieu) and the Priest Aramis (Jeremy Irons). They join forces for the royal vengeance with the shout : ¨One for all and all for one¨ . They are planning a twisted plot , involving substitution of the villain King by his lookalike brother.

It's a good adaptation with big budget , a moving rendition of the classic tale with derring-do , intrigue , romance , action and exciting swordplay . An excellent casting and lavish production shot in France make for a fairly amusement swashbuckler . Glimmer and watchable cinematography by Peter Suschizsky who reflects stunningly French palaces (Versalles), gardens and interior-exterior scenarios . Besides , the atmospheric and spectacular music score by Nick Glennie Smith . ¨Three Musketeers¨ remade numerous times for big screen and television . Thus : 1929 silent retelling by Alan Dawn with Douglas Fairbanks , 1939 by James Whale with Louis Hayward , 1977 TV rendition with Richard Chamberlain . The film is well realized by usual screenwriter (Braveheart) and first-time director Randal Wallace . The motion picture will appeal to costume drama enthusiastic and DiCaprio fans.
Unereel
Unereel
this is one of the worst films ever to come to screen - there is soooooooooo much wrong with it!!!!!!

1) None of them have the same accent, some are English, some American and others French...why?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?! 2) The acting in the final death scene is disgusting, "all for one, and one for...for...(dies stupidly, over-the-top- dramatic death) 3) You really think that they would be able to survive a hail of bullets without a little scratch? 4) Leonardo DiCaprio cannot act! 5) How stupid does that ridiculous mask look? hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahhahahahahahahaaaaaaaaaaaaaaar 6) it is sooooooo predictable - yeah cus no1 had worked out he was the father half way through the first scene!!!! 7) Why would you go hang-yourself naked? 8) it is awful 9) yes awful! 10) awful some more!

DO NOT SEE THIS MOVIE!
Azago
Azago
What a horrible movie! And such a waste of talent too!

John Malkovitch, a truly excellent actor, is particularly nauseating as Athos. Br-r-r-r-r.
Gann
Gann
I wasn't impressed with the acting at all though. I remember a great

version of this story on tv, was it with Richard Chamberlin? This

version seemed weak, everyone had different accents, there wasn't much

to it all. I left with a 'ho hum' feeling, I didn't care much. Rent The

Three Muskateers! instead, the one that Richard Lester did. It's fun and

has a sense of humor. This version took itself very seriously.....
Cala
Cala
I only first watched it a year ago, and wasn't sure I would like it at all. Although it had some of my favorite actors (John M. Gabriel B. ..and so on) it also held some of my least favorite actors (Leonardo D. ..and that's it). I watched it, and loved it! There is comedy, romance, adventure, drama, some educational value, and it holds the oh-so-fine Jeremy Irons. I found it captivating enough, interesting so to speak. It doesn't have any of those "Is it over yet? Should I wake my legs now?" scenes. I don't recommend it for little kids, though.
Gamba
Gamba
(spoiler warning)

This film does a real good job of being one of the very worst films of the 90's. Though the acting is about standard (except for Depardieu, I'll get to that), there are details that simply sink this absolute horror of a film.

First of all: Louis XIV's imprisoned brother stays six years in the prison wearing an iron mask. Fed intravenously, I suppose. Anyway, they remove the mask and wash him, and TADAA, he's just as well-fed, nice and clean as the king himself! That's really something.

And along comes Depardieu. He is French and has an undeniable French accent. The others speak perfect English. Why bother to cast someone with a French accent in a film that is otherwise accent free? Why, because he alleviates the fact that this film about European history is made by a bunch of Americans, and brings "fun" to the stew. Well - he sucks.

Near the end, the musketeers are trapped and just have to run broad-chested and shouting towards a bunch of soldiers wielding muskets. They fire a barrage of bullets in a confined corridor - and not one bullet seems to have hit its mark. Is that divine intervention à la Pulp Fiction or what!?

And then comes the very worst detail: after the burial, the musketeers walk down an alley lined with the king's troops. I would have been happy to dismiss the film with that, but NOOOOOOO - the troops have to shout "One for all - all for one!" just to point out that this film is one of the cheesiest and dumbest films ever made.

Man oh man, not even the little girls who had filled the theatre to see DiCaprio thought this film was good. Thank God I didn't have to pay to see it.
Zadora
Zadora
In 1998 Leonardo DiCaprio was career was at an early peak after starring in Romeo + Juliet and Titanic and Randall Wallace was able to have his directional debut after the unjust praise he received for Braveheart. Both ended being involved in a mediocre swashbuckling auctioneer which is a sequel to the Four Musketeers.

Set in the early stage of King Louis XIV (DiCaprio) reign, Louis is a brutal king who is engaged in a war with the Dutch, allowing the civilians of Paris to starve and riot whilst his lives in luxury and at has affairs with mistresses. The Four Musketeers have gone their separate ways, Aramis (Jeremy Irons) is a Jesuit priest, Porthos (Gérard Depardieu) is a fat old man who is depressed and visits brothels, Athos (John Malkovich) has raised a son, Raoul (Peter Sarsgaard) who want to be a musketeers and D'Artagnan (Gabriel Byrne) is the captain of the musketeers for the king. But when Aramis is asked to kill the head Jesuit order and Athos' son dies in a suicidal battle because of the king's eye for his partner, three of the musketeers plot to overthrow Louis. They plan is to free Louis' identity twin brother, Philippe was held prison with an iron mask over his head, and replace him to be a good king.

There are some good things about The Man in the Iron Mask: there are some nice costumes, nice scenery involving the palace of Versailles with a fitting score and Irons was pretty good in the film. But there are a lot of problems with this film. Most of the acting is wooden, and that despite the casting of DiCaprio and Malkovich who were on autopilot. Malkovich did have one decent moment of making an angry speech but that's it. But DiCaprio's career went into a mini-dip after this and the Beach: luckily he has recovered and works with great directors like Scorsese, Spielberg and Nolan. It was also a weird mix of accents, with characters speaking in either an English, American or French: Wallace should have gotten all his actors to speak in one accent and stick to it. The action in film is pretty standard: there is nothing bad about it but there is nothing new or refreshing about it either; just a few sword fights and flintlock rifles being shot. I am also personally very critical of Wallace as a writer, coming up with the cinematic travesties of Braveheart and Pearl Harbor. The Man in the Iron Mask follows has the same problems, Wallace has a continuing need to introduce poor and crass comedy, with Depardieu playing a drunken slop who gets drunk, farts, lusts over women and walks around naked when he tried to hang himself. For a very French story the one major French actor has the worst role. Most of the jokes fall flat and the dialogue is weak throughout the film. The character is one dimensional, but Wallace does not know how to make them any other way. You could not believe in them and the acting did not help. There was no attempt to characterise Louis and like Edward I in Braveheart there is no political reason for why he commits an act, like the war. It was a hollow experience. There is an attempt of a surrogate father-son relationship between Athos and Philippe but that also felt flat throughout and that well developed.

Many ideas are underdeveloped, like the Jesuit campaign against Louis' wars, the grinding poverty the ordinary people had to suffer or show more of the war, whether France was winning, losing or in the middle of a stalemate. A theme that could have been explored was if the musketeers were using Philippe for their own ends to gain power for themselves. Or rivalries in the court whilst some counsellors supporting Louis and other against him.

Overall the best swashbuckling film of 1998 was the Mask of Zorro and Wallace best film is We Were Soldiers: watch those two film instead.