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  • Writer's pictureAlex First

The Three Musketeers: Part I D'Artagnan (M) – 121 minutes

Intrigue and subterfuge abound in the rich and engaging period action drama The Three Musketeers: Part I D'Artagnan, which is based on Alexandre Dumas’ 1844 novel.

 

We are in France in 1627.

 

Spirited young swordsman Charles D’Artagnan (François Civil) is on a mission to serve king and country.

He is travelling on horseback from Gascony to Paris when he narrowly escapes death whilst heroically saving a woman from being kidnapped.

 

In his pocket is a letter of introduction from his father to the captain of the king’s guard (Marc Barbé), who knows his father.

 

D’Artagnan aspires to be a musketeer, but first he must undergo a cadetship.

 

On his way to unexpectedly finding lodgings, D’Artagnan gets into all manner of trouble.

He does so by offending the sensibilities of three of the most formidable musketeers in the ranks.


I speak of Athos (Vincent Cassel), Porthos (Pio Marmaï) and Aramis (Romain Duris) and before he knows it, he is challenged to three consecutive duels, hour after hour.


But, fortunately, soon enough D’Artagnan wins them over and becomes embroiled in protecting the future of the nation.


That is under threat because of a conspiracy from Cardinal Richelieu (Éric Ruf) to trigger a war between France and England and overthrow the king.

It is a cause also championed by the king’s brother, who the king is in the throes of marrying off.


The cardinal’s secret weapon is the mysterious and wicked Milady de Winter (Eva Green).


To save the kingdom from falling into the wrong hands will require all the daring do of D’Artagnan and the three musketeers.


On the romantic front, D’Artagnan is immediately attracted to his landlady, Constance (Lyna Khoudri), handmaiden to Queen Anne (Vicky Krieps).

The Three Musketeers: Part I D'Artagnan is a slick and lavish production, which features superb cinematography from Nicolas Bolduc.

 

The juxtaposition between the sumptuous interiors populated by nobles and the working-class exteriors is stark and potent.


The filmmakers have left nothing to chance, with the $100 million plus budget on show for all to see.


Writers Matthieu Delaporte and Alexandre de La Patellière are adept at capitalising upon the scheming nature of the plot.

Martin Bourboulon directs with vivid brush strokes that bring the story alive.


François Civil plays the lead with boyish charm and a glint in his eyes. It looks like he is on a grand adventure.


There is a charming flirtatiousness between him and Lyna Khoudri, who plays the Queen’s responsible attendant and confidante.


Vincent Cassel makes an immediate impression as the measured Athos, who is comfortable in his own skin.

There is a pleasant swashbuckling cheekiness about Romain Duris as Aramis and Pio Marmai as Porthos.


Eva Green chews the scenery as the masterful manipulator, who uses her feminine wiles to gain maximum advantage.


Éric Ruf has all the hallmarks of the quiet assassin.


Louis Garrel is largely taciturn as King Louis XIII, responsibility weighing heavily upon him.

With many of the key characters well drawn, The Three Musketeers: Part I D'Artagnan is a rollicking ride and one worth taking.


Not surprisingly, it ends on a cliff hanger, with all in readiness for Part 2. I can’t wait.


Rated M, The Three Musketeers: Part I D'Artagnan scores an 8 out of 10.

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