The Count of Monte Cristo

Cast
Edmund Dantes: James Caviezel
Mondego: Guy Pearce
Faria: Richard Harris
Mercedes: Dagmara Dominczyk
Dorleac: Michael Wincott
Jacobo: Luis Guzman
Touchstone Pictures presents a film directed by Kevin Reynolds. Written by Jay Wolpert. Based on the novel by Alexandre Dumas Sr. Running time: 118 minutes. Rating: PG-13 (for adventure violence, swordplay and some sexuality).

Central Theme
In a classic tale of friendship and betrayal, love and heartbreak, action and adventure, a good, God-fearing man loses his faith in God and man after the bitter betrayal of those he loved and trusted. He finds faith again through the influence of an old priest and his own unsatisfying attempts at revenge.

Story
The retelling of Alexandre Dumas’ classic story of betrayal, revenge and repentance. Set in the Napoleonic era, the commoner Edmund Dantes is betrayed by the jealous, aristocratic Mondego. Unjustly accused of treason Dantes is banished to the remote prison island of Chateau d’If where his initial faith in God dissipates after years of beatings and no sign of hope. His fortunes take a positive turn when he is befriended by another prisoner, soldier-turned-priest, Faria, who helps Dantes learn the ways of high society but also challenges him to return to faith in God. Just before dying Faria reveals the location of a fortune on the isle of Monte Cristo, but requires that Dantes let go of his hate and revenge. After retrieving the fortune, Dantes sets in motion his elaborate plan for revenge, masquerading as the fictitious Count of Monte Cristo. In the process of acting on his hate he is haunted by the priest’s challenge to repent and Dantes ultimately finds God and justice.

Beliefs num
–God is in everything
–God will bring Justice
–Innocence can be shattered by evildoers
–Revenge promises satisfaction, but cannot deliver it
–Eventually wrongdoers pay a price for their evil deeds

Questions Worth Discussing num
–Can you think of a time when you sought revenge and it did not satisfy?
–Can you think of a time when you decided to trust God to bring justice instead of seeking revenge?
–Have you ever experienced physical illness as a result of bitterness and a desire for revenge?
–Does God bring justice?
–Is God in everything?
–How do these lessons apply to the world stage? Northern Ireland? Israel and the Palestinians?

Provocative Quotes byline
–Why are you doing this? It is complicated.
==Dantes to Mondego, with Mondego’s reply
–Because you are the son of a clerk and I’m not supposed to want to be you.
==Mondego’s more complete answer
–This chess piece means I am King of the moment.
==Symbol of Dantes and Mondegos’s competiive rivalry from childhood
–Kings and pawns, Emperors and fools.
==Napoleon’s view of human roles in the chess game of life
–God will give me justice.
==Words carved in the stone in Dantes’ cell when he arrives
–Why me, God?
==Dantes cries out at the disinterest in his innocent plea
–God has nothing to do with it. He’s not in France this time of year. Pray and ask God for help and I will stop the moment He shows up.
==Jailer
–God has everything to do with it. He is in everything and everywhere.
==Dantes to jailer
–Thank You God.
==Faria when he sees the sky from Dantes’ cell
–There is no God here. The inscription has faded just as God has faded.
==Dantes
–With what have you replaced God? REVENGE.
==Faria to Dantes, and Dantes’ reply
–Revenge is a meal endlessly cooked and seldom eaten.
==Faria to Dantes
–After I was ordered to burn down a church, I did and was filled with shame. I devoted myself to repentance and to the glory to God.
==Faria explains why he left the military and became a priest
–God is no more real than your treasure!
==Dantes to Faria
–Use it for good. Do not commit the crime for which you serve the sentence. God says Vengeance is mine.
==Faria when he gives Dantes the map to the treasure
–I don’t believe in God.
==Dantes
–No matter, God believes in you!
==Faria’s dying words to Dantes
–You are the wealthiest of any man I have ever heard of. What do you want to buy? Revenge.
==Servant to Dantes and Dantes reply (when they find the treasure)
–Death is too good for them. They must suffer as I suffered.
==Dantes to his servant.
–I will protect you, even if it means protecting you from yourself.
==Servant to Dantes
–If you love me, let go of your hate. God has offered us a chance. You cannot escape Him, He is in everything.
==Mercedes to Dantes
–You must end this. Even the priest will understand.
==Jacobo to Dantes in the duel with Mondego
–You were right, priest. All that was used for vengeance I will now use for good. God will give me justice.
==Dantes at the conclusion of the story
–The Count of Monte Cristo is the story of one man’s journey into the dark places of his soul. The way I related with the part was through the notion of losing your faith, of hating God and then coming back to finding peace again…It is the journey of having to go through hell to become a better man. The young Edmond Dantes starts out as someone who sees the world as basically good, like how a child sees it, and that gradually changes. This guy becomes a victim of circumstance and doesn’t understand why such things could happen to him. I tried to relate to some of those elements in my own life.
==Jim Caviezel on playing Dantes
–A lot of people ask me, ‘What are your films about?’ I think it is an obsession with a loss of innocence. I think there is an element of that in all the pictures I have done. Maybe that is what there is for me in ‘The Count of Monte Cristo’. There is this young, innocent, well-intentioned guy who gets run over by a bunch of ruthless people. He goes back and tries to seek revenge, which he thinks will fulfill him and make him whole again. But is revenge satisfying? As the Richard Harris character says: ‘It’s a meal endlessly cooked and seldom eaten.’ So that’s what this film is, an exploration of one man’s quest for revenge.
==Director Kevin Reynolds

Posted in Movies, Staublog in January 25, 2002 by | No Comments »

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