Review: The Three Musketeers: D'Artagnan
- Martin Bourboulon successfully revisits Alexandre Dumas’ classic tale to deliver a spectacular, swashbuckling film that’s full of spirit, brilliantly acted and highly entertaining
When, en route to Paris and believed to be dead after an unexpected skirmish in an inn, D’Artagnan regains consciousness and quite literally springs from the earth after being buried in the forest, the intention of director Martin Bourboulon and his screenwriting duo Matthieu Delaporte and Alexandre de la Patellière couldn’t be clearer: by way of The Three Musketeers: D'Artagnan [+see also:
film profile], the first instalment of a two-parter which aims to honour Alexandre Dumas’ world-famous novel (published in 1844), the trio are looking to revive this classic by preserving and energising its essence (action, duels, horseback riding, the musketeers’ friendship, the treachery of Cardinal Richelieu’s henchmen, etc.) whilst allowing themselves a little liberty vis-à-vis the original story’s ingredients.
It’s an incredibly successful revisit-come-modernisation, as audiences will note in France (released by Pathé Distribution) and Belgium (by Alternative Films) from 5 April, in Italy (Medusa Film) and the Czech Republic (Bioscop) from 6 April, in Germany (Constantin Film) from 13 April, in Austria (Constantin Film) and Spain (DeAPlaneta) from 14 April, and in Argentina, Brazil, Peru, Colombia, Bolivia, Chile, Mexico and Uruguay from various dates all throughout April. It’s a vast release campaign heralding a great many more and marking a new phase in Pathé‘s production strategy, which aims to deliver spectacular, crowd-pleasing works drawing on France’s cultural and historical heritage (The Count of Monte Cristo and a two-part film on De Gaulle are already in the pipeline).
Purists will enjoy picking out the many variations on Alexandre Dumas’ original work, but the crux of the story (transposed to the big screen several times, based upon this novel renowned the world over, as highlighted by the Indian TV quiz show in Slumdog Millionaire [+see also:
interview: Danny Boyle
film profile], for example) remains the same: young Gascon D’Artagnan (François Civil) travels to Paris and dreams of becoming one of the King’s (Louis XIII, played by Louis Garrel) musketeers. En route, he stumbles upon a plot hatched by Cardinal Richelieu (Éric Ruf) and his executrix Milady (Eva Green) to discredit the Queen (Vicky Krieps) who has secretly fallen in love with the Duke of Buckingham (Oliver Jackson-Cohen). D’Artagnan subsequently meets the musketeers Athos (Vincent Cassel), Porthos (Pio Marmaï) and Aramis (Romain Duris) whom he challenges to a duel, before realising they share a common enemy: the Cardinal’s guards. "One for all and all for one": the adventure begins and tears along at a hectic pace, ricocheting from one twist to another with a little bit of love to boot (thanks to Constance Bonacieux, played by Lyna Khoudri).
Buoyed by perfect actors (first and foremost Vincent Cassel, though all are impeccably matched to the novel’s characters), meticulously designed sets and costumes which help lend the tale its scale, and lively mise en scène (courtesy of Martin Bourboulon, whose trajectory over the course of just three films confirms him as the "golden boy" of French cinema who can be trusted with big budgets and fulfils his missions in ideal fashion – except when it comes to romance, where he’s a little less at ease, as seen in Eiffel [+see also:
film profile]): The Three Musketeers: D'Artagnan is a markedly high-quality, enjoyable movie, and we need only wait until the end of 2023 for the second instalment, Milady.
The Three Musketeers: D'Artagnan was produced by Chapter 2 and Pathé (with the latter also steering international sales) in co-production with M6 Films, German outfits Constantin Films Produktion and ZDF, Spanish firm DeAPlaneta, and Belgium’s Umedia.
(Translated from French)
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