The Man In The Iron Mask is one of the three most popular novels by Alexander Dumas, the other two being The Count Of Monte Cristo and the Three Musketeers. The Man In The Iron Mask follows closely to the book and even though it takes its share of liberties which every movie has to take one way or the other to accomodate a literary content on to the celluloid, it remains faithful enough to the source material. The story starts in France, which is under the rule of Louis XIV. He has waged unnecessary wars, which has left the nation on the brink of starvation. There are uprisisngs and uproars everywhere, but Louis is indifferent of these harsh realities and determined on spending a life of lavish comfort and self rightiousness. The three musketeers Athos, Porthos and Aramis are now aging. athos has a son Raoul while aramis has undertaken sainthood. Porthos is still continuing his philandering. The frequent uprisings against the kingdom, forces Louis to avail the services of Aramis to find out the leader of the Jesuist and annex him. Meanwhile Louis also takes a liking to Raoul’s to be wife Christine. In the lookout to persue her, Louis sends Raoul on a dangerous expedition, where he dies. Hence the King now invites the wrath of the three musketeers who decide to overthrow him by replacing him with The Man In The Iron Mask. He though enjoys the services of D’Artagan, who is violently loyal and honest to a sole cause, protecting the king. Apart from all this there is the secret of the Man In The Iron Mask…!!
When relesed, The Man In The Iron Mask was a critical failure but business wise it tanked. After seating through it twice, I guess the only reason for its commercial success could be sighted to the interesting plot and the beautiful people involved, who do everything with a swagger. Leonardo DeCaprio delivers a knockout performence as Louis. He is a picture of confidence and humility all the way through. at one point of time, the audience is able to relate to his eccentricity. He is immensely hateful and one would love to hate him. Then there are the three musketeers, a name synonymous with action and high adventure. A name that would still make the stand up and take notice. The Musketeers are aging but that has not blunted their lethal prowess. The movie makes good use of their myth and potrays their charisma to a great extent. The two leading ladies, Judith Godreche and Annie Parrilaud look devinely beautiful. They add the much needed famine angle to the otherwise male dominated narrative.
The picturesque locales and beautifully arranged elaborate sets will make you take notice. The King’s palace where most of the action takes place, must deserve special mention in here. even the dungeons are made believeable. The costumes are so beautiful. even though they are a far cry from what we are use to these days but I must admit, they look gorgeous on screen. The uniforms of the Musketeers are breathtakingly beautiful. The background score is just apt and the editing is befitting. Directed by Randal Wallace who wrote Braveheart, The Man In The Iron mask doesnt dissapoint. It holds on to your attention and never tries to be what it is not. This one is not for the oscars but for people whao re looking for some popcorn entertainment. So grab you bowl, kick back in your seat and let the narrative take over your senses.