The Man In The Iron Mask
Rating -

Adventure (US);1998; Rated PG-13; 132 Minutes

Leonardo DiCaprio: King Louis/Philippe
Jeremy Irons: Aramis
John Malkovich: Athos
Gérard Depardieu: Porthos
Gabriel Byrne: D'Artagnan
Anne Parillaud: Queen Anne
Judith Godrèche: Christine
Edward Atterton: Lieutenant Andre
Peter Sarsgaard: Raoul
Hugh Laurie: King's advisor

Prodcued by René Dupont, Paul Hitchcock, Alan Ladd Jr., Russ Smith, and Randall Wallace; Directed by Randall Wallace; Screenwritten by Alexandre Dumas and Randall Wallace

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Written by DAVID KEYES

"The Man In The Iron Mask" is an incredibly ridiculous entry to the "swashbuckling adventure" genre, filled with costumes and a cast that anyone would love, and dialogue that everyone would love to hate.

The film stars Leonardo DiCaprio who, after appearing in "Marvin's Room," "Romeo And Juliet" and "The Quick And The Dead," nails down his title as the king of movies that are bad from the very first moment. He plays two distinguishing roles: King Louie the 14th (an egotistical, spoiled, little brat) and his twin brother, Phillipe, who has been imprisoned in Louie's dungeon his whole life, wearing an iron mask. A few people in the kingdom plot to have Phillipe replace Louie as the king of their country, simply because Louie seems incapable of doing the job successfully.

In this movie, there are some fine, influential actors: Gabriel Byrne, Jeremy Irons, John Malkovitch and, of course, DiCaprio are among them. But their characters at some point in the film seem to have trouble with their dialogue. DiCaprio's King Louie, for instance, spends what seems like five painful minutes ranting and raving about Phillipe for no apparent reason. At the end of his speech, he concludes, "Wear the iron mask until you die in it." This line is one of the lead lines of the movie, and to think it took him that long to get to that point! Actually, it only seemed long; I'm not sure if it really was.

The whole movie seems like this. The movie makes audiences feel as if it wil never end, and characters talk so much for no simple reason. Most of the dialogue is unnecessary, not rally relating to the story. If we want to see people reciting useless dialogue, then we can go see "Spiceworld."

Aside from the annoying dialogue, "The Man In The Iron Mask" also has a problem with developing its characters. Often we find the three musketeers (the main reason for me seeing the movie) getting lost, not only in their own, boring dialogue, but also in the twists of the plot. In fact, they are so dull and dreary, I didn't even bother to wait for them to say their most famous line: "All for one and one for all!" At that point, I was already asleep.

I was really looking forward to this movie, too. Being DiCaprio's first film since him ground breaking "Titanic," it seemed as though he was going to continue his success. He doesn't. But you watch: "That Man In The Iron Mask" will be a hit, simply because DiCaprio is in it. He literally is the box office magnet for today's films. That's why most of his movie are big hits. Yet, most of his movies are also crummy. With the exceptions of "What's Eating Gilbert Grape?" and "Titanic," I haven't seen him in any good movies. It's terrifying! He could go really downhill if he chooses many more bad roles. DiCaprio has so much gifted talent, not even I would like to see his career be destroyed.

The movies isn't a total loss, though. It has outstandingly crafted backgrounds, devastatingly beautiful costumes and, of course, a great cast. If the writers, the director and the producer had managed to iron out the kinks in the script before they made it, we could have been talking about one of the best films of the year.

Unfortunately, due to its burdened dialogue and storyline, this one could possibly pass off as one of the worst films of the year.

© 1998, David Keyes, Please e-mail the author here if the above review contains any spelling or grammar mistakes.
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