The Man in the Iron Mask (1998) / Adventure-Action
MPAA Rated: PG-13 for sequences of violence and some sensuality/nudity
Running Time: 132 min.
Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Gabriel Byrne, John Malkovich, Gerard Depardieu, Jeremy Irons
Director: Randall Wallace
Screenplay: Randall Wallace (based on the novels of Alexandre Dumas)
Review published September 13, 1998
Leonardo DiCaprio (Romeo + Juliet, The Quick and the Dead) plays dual roles as the King of France and his twin brother Phillippe, who was cast in an iron mask to conceal his identity and thrown in prison to spend the rest of his life in obscurity. Trouble is, King Louis is very unpopular with his people, and more importantly among his crew of musketeers who are sworn to protect him. Of course, this leads the musketeers to want to swap DiCaprios and give France a worthy king.
The Man in the Iron Mask is a film made strictly for entertainment purposes and isn't shooting for Academy Award caliber cinematics, despite the impressive ensemble of actors and the period piece look. Randall Wallace, screenwriter of the excellent Oscar-winning film, Braveheart, takes the director's chair and delivers an entertaining if not always comprehensible adventure.
The cinematography and costumes are quite beautiful, and the actors are as good as you'd expect them to be. It's never fully explained why the characters have varying accents, and the film does suffer a bit from predictability, but it's still quite good, and DiCaprio handles both roles with ease. Great fun, especially for fans of the "Three Musketeers."
©1998 Vince Leo