The Man in the Iron Mask

1998 Three Musketeers movie

Rating: 12/20

Plot: King Leonardo the XIV isn't a very good king. In fact, he's an asshole, and nobody in France likes him except for one of the four musketeers who is sleeping with the queen mother. When King Leonardo makes a military decision based only on his sexual desires (a move he must have learned from reading about King David and Bathsheba), Musketeer Malcovich's son is killed in battle. The three musketeers who aren't sleeping with the queen mother decide to bust the man in the iron mask, Leonardo's brother Leonardo, out of prison and pull an ol' switcheroo.

If you were magically transported via a magical remote control and a time machine into this movie and asked anybody in France, "Hey, how's King Leonardo XIV working out for ya?" you would fall to sleep before the answer was finished because the Frenchman or Frenchwoman answering your question would deliver a verbose answer so monotonously that you'd think, "Oh, man. Is this answer ever going to get to an endmark?" and then decide to close your eyes for a little bit, just a little bit like you do sometimes when you're driving, but then fall fast asleep. The Man in the Iron Mask needed some of that bumpy pavement they put on the shoulders of highways so that the bumbabra-bumbabra-bumbabra noise wakes you up before you hit a tree, a ditch, or a hobo. I don't know whether to blame the dialogue, the bland music, or the acting, but this was just so stuffy. I normally like John Malcovich, but his uninspired performance here typifies what's wrong with this. He always performs his dialogue in a very deliberate Malcovichian way that ends up making the movie a lot longer, but here, it just seems like his character is struggling to get the words out, almost like he can't believe he used to be a musketeer but now has to say such boring things. He and the other musketeers (Irons, Depardieu, Byrne) each have moments where they shine, but more often than not, they overtheatricize and get all actor-y and make me think I'm watching performances instead of characters. And the biggest problem of all? I might be able to tolerate a single Leonardo Dicaprio in a movie, but this one has two. He plays two characters who not only look identical but act identical even though the story would seem to require that they don't have that much in common. I don't even know if Leonardo Dicaprio is a good actor or not, but I don't like him here one bit. I don't think the part(s) suit him, and I thought his face was tedious. This movie did get better as it went along, but it unfortunately went along a little too much. Or maybe a lot too much.

1 comment:

cory said...

I continue to be in the minority on this one. I won't defend my opinion beyond saying that I liked the acting and comradarie, the action and story maintained my interest, and that punk Dicaprio didn't bother me. A 15.