This is a sexy, often very funny sequel to the Alexandre Dumas classic The Three musketeers. Director Bertrand Tavernier has said it is a tribute to the action pix he grew up with, and the film’s strength comes from its ability to deliver the thrills ‘n’ spills of the Errol Flynn-style actioners without being self-consciously nostalgic.
Set in 1650s France, fast-paced story opens with a slave escaping through the woods from the estate of the evil Duke of Crassac (Claude Rich). The Mother Superior of a nearby convent gives refuge to the slave and is murdered by the Duke’s henchman in retaliation.
Eloise (Sophie Marceau), who is studying at the convent, immediately sets off for Paris hoping to enlist her famous dad, D’Artagnan (Philippe Noiret), to help seek revenge. Along the way, she meets up with flaky, romantic poet Quentin (Nils Tavernier, the director’s son). She arrives in Paris to find her aging father isn’t exactly crazy about jumping back into the musketeer biz.
All-star French thesps are uniformly first-rate. Marceau is captivating and sexy as the spirited female musketeer, and Noiret adds a poignant edge to pic with his portrayal of D’Artagnan as an almost-washed-up hero. Actors look like they’re having fun, particularly Rich, who turns in an over-the-top comic turn as the low-IQ bad guy.
Philippe Sarde’s wonderfully warm score and Jacqueline Moreau’s sumptuous period costumes add to pic’s flavor and elegance. [Pic is based on an idea by Riccardo Freda (originally skedded to direct) and Eric Poindron, adapted by Michel Leviant, Tavernier and Jean Cosmos.]