By EW Staff
Updated March 17, 2020 at 02:47 AM EDT
James Caviezel, Dagmara Dominczyk, ...
Credit: The Count of Monte Cristo: Jonathan Hession

In defending his decision to revamp the second-most-oft-told Alexandre Dumas classic of the fall (see September’s ”The Musketeer”), Reynolds told his cast, ”What’s the point of making this film just to make it again, unless you have another take?” According to Caviezel, who plays a man out for revenge after being unjustly jailed by a friend (”Memento”’s Pearce), Reynolds’ approach was to accentuate the story’s spiritual side by highlighting the prisoner’s struggle with faith while locked up with a wronged priest (Harris).

Not that this is a two-hour theological debate: The director of ”Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves” promises plenty of action. To achieve maximum swashbucklage, Caviezel (”Frequency”) — who took the lead after Jude Law passed and Pearce decided he’d rather play the bad guy — studied fencing for nine months. With his ebullient derring-do, the actor is busting out of the restrained wounded-hero parts he’s been locked into since ”The Thin Red Line,” although pigeonholing is a villain he’s dueled before. ”I was in Seattle doing a Neil Simon comedy and they were casting [1992’s] ‘Singles,”’ he remembers. ”The casting director watched me and said, ‘I just don’t think he’s right for dramas.”’ En garde, typecasting!

The Count of Monte Cristo

  • Movie
  • PG-13
  • 131 minutes
  • Kevin Reynolds