Great European adventure cinema with a sublime Eva Green.

The French film ‘The Three Musketeers: D’Artagnan’, a new adaptation of the famous Alexandre Dumas story by director Martin Bourboulonwhich delivered at the same time, this and a second part under the title ‘Los tres musketeros: Milady’, which will premiere in France on December and in Spain in 2024. An ambitious plan that has good reasons: it is a stupendous film of adventures.

There are dozens of film versions of Dumas’s work, which was first published as a serialized novel in newspapers, one of the most remembered being the film adaptation with Gene Kelly, another the action-packed trilogy by Richard Lester, the Disney version with Kiefer Sutherland and Charlie Sheen, Leonardo DiCaprio or even Paul W. Anderson. It has also served as the basis for three BBC series and several Russian musical films. Although there were Gallic looks in classical cinema, for several decades almost seems to have forgotten that it is a pillar of originally French culture.

Finally, the classic came home and the French look at the material addresses some often overlooked policy issues bringing to life a time when the nation was divided by religious strife and differing opinions about the nobility. But the plot does not lose focus on d’Artagnan (Francois Civil), a young Gascon who wants to join the King’s Musketeers. Arriving in Paris, he falls madly in love with Constance Bonacieux (lyna khoudri), confidant of the Queen (Vicky Krieps).

After coming into contact with the musketeers, the aristocratic Athos (Vincent Cassell), the bon vivant Porthos (Pio Marmai) and the dedicated Aramis (Romain Duris), the plot thickens when the mysterious Milady de Winter (green eva) puts his sinister plans into action together with Cardinal Richelieu (Eric Ruf), with which the quartet must now fight for cohesion and order in a kingdom divided by religious wars. ‘D’Artagnan’ faithfully follows Dumas’ original story, but allows for some deviationscutting a passage here, joining two there, to synthesize the scale of the novels.

Sad but not too much

Screenwriters Alexandre de La Patellière and Matthieu Delaporte transform Athos into a mature and melancholy man, whose past weighs on his shoulders and who seems defeated in the last phase of his life, making him one of the most interesting characters (with an even more interesting face by Vincent Cassel). But the real surprise is the charming and arrogant d’Artagnan played by François Civil, who under his irresistible seductive smile knows how to endow the iconic protagonist with malice and goofy vulnerability.

The central part, where Aramis, Porthos and D’Artagnan act as investigators to save Athos from hanging, is what best defines the focus of this version, a darker and dirtier look, but not too deep to turn it into a work. of more aspirations than his share. bourboulon finds the balance between palace intrigue with historical overtones, inevitably reminiscent of ‘Game of Thrones’ and an occasionally more festive spirit where humor, action and romance come together.

Constance Bonacieux is still d’Artagnan’s beloved, but she has a more active role, she is a shrewder character, and Lyna Khoudri gives her more dignity than the script gives her. The Machiavellian and lethal Milady has the venom that only Eva Green knows how to instill in her roles., a vampire in 19th-century garb who has more presence than the conniving Cardinal Richelieu. There is staging that is also reminiscent of George RR Martin’s adaptation, although there are no fantasy elements.

A franchise with a European flavor

The 17th century does not seem to have left the Middle Ages, people walk through the mud between dark streets that the director and his cinematographer Nicolas Bolduc designed with drastic shadows creating a somber tone marked by a modernist score by the composer Guillaume Roussel. Yes, digital cameras score, with that television sharpness that is never a good companion for period pieces, but the production design is so powerful that it makes up for it a little.

While this version highlights the political-national nuances surrounding religious conflicts and a stronger context for the brewing civil war, the director does not leave behind the action scenes, which have a typical staging of an adventure cinema and swordsmanship less serious than what its appearance suggests, putting the accent of folletín to the friendships forged in the combat that transmits a contagious chivalric optimism that rescues the comic and the epic of the peripecia of four friends, the base that always has hecho to work this story.

‘The Three Musketeers: D’Artagnan’ ends with a thriller which is preparing for the second part on the way, showing the ambition of a European fiction that treats its classics as superheroes, and it is not by chance that they will continue on Disney+, where they will appear in two series derived from the same writers, the first will be the origins of Milady and the second ‘The Black Musketeer’. But the plans don’t stop there, and a movie about ‘The Count of Monte Cristo’ by the same creators is being planned, and if you’re lucky that this one, the “Dumasverse” may be the best thing to happen to European breakout cinema in years.

In Espinof | The 46 Most Anticipated Movies and Best Releases of 2023