Friday Guilty Pleasure Flix: The Man in the Iron Mask

Happy Friday, everybody! It’s a short week since I got Monday off but boy has it been a hectic one.

Back in November, I revealed one of many guilty pleasure flix, and since Shutter Island opens today in theaters after being delayed for four months, I thought it’d be fun to feature one of Leonardo DiCaprio’s work. In anticipation of the Scorsese’s film, my blogger friend M. Carter has started a countdown ten days ago, Rotten Tomatoes featured DiCaprios’s top ten best movies and another blogger wrote a fan-appreciation post for the 35 year-old actor. Now, The Man in the Iron Mask is unlikely to end up in such best list, or even merit an honorable mention. But isn’t that the point of a guilty pleasure? You love it anyway even if it’s ‘rotten’ 🙂

Anyway, if you haven’t seen this one, the story is basically a follow-up to the legendary tale of The Three Musketeers by Alexander Dumas where Leo plays a dual role of the cruel King Louis XIV as well as the imprisoned secret twin brother Phillipe. Curiously, this is his follow-up movie right after Titanic, when he was pretty much the Rob Pattinson of his day. What’s impressive about this movie is the cast. I mean, it’s mind-boggling how many Oscar and Golden Globe winners/nominees are in this flick: Jeremy Irons, John Malkovich and Gerard Depardieu make up the musketeers: Aramis, Athos, Porthos; Gabriel Byrne as the courageous d’Artagnan; Hugh Laurie as the King’s advisor and Peter Sarsgaard as Raoul, Athos’ only son.

I gotta admit I saw this movie because of Leo Jack Dawson (like most girls I too fell under his spell, just briefly though, I find him too boyish looking now). But in this flick, I totally fell for Gabriel Byrne as the dashing and regal d’Artagnan. Though billed as a DiCaprio movie due to his massive popularity, Byrne’s the heart & soul of the movie, his performance as the conflicted man carrying a pivotal secret is absolutely terrific, he brings a surprising depth to this archetypal character. The rest of the cast was great too, John Malkovich is a bit over-the-top at times but hey, it’s John Malkovich, what do you expect? Jeremy Irons play his Jesuit priest with wit and whimsy and Depardieu is the fun comic relief. Leo himself is pretty convincing playing the tricky dual roles, especially as Louie where he often has to act with his eyes alone. It’s not Oscar worthy by any means, but enough to prove he is one pretty boy with acting chops to boot. It also proves DiCaprio can’t do accent, a French king with barely a hint of a French burr, and he sounds exactly the same as both characters.

The script is cliche-laden and the story is all too familiar, but there are some amusing dialogue here and there, especially between the three musketeers who have good chemistry with each other. The movie’s also gorgeous to look at (except perhaps Leo’s ghastly haircut), lush setting + beautiful costumes, especially at the grand masquerade.

I find this movie highly entertaining and the soundtrack is pretty great, too. Hmmm, I wouldn’t mind re-watching this one again soon!



Have you seen this one folks? Well, what did you think?