The Three Musketeers: D’artagnan

15¦ Blu-ray, DVD

French cinema has always been on the serious side, but in recent years it seems to have gotten particularly dour. There are just too many family dramas, where there’s a lot of shouting, before there’s some kind of resolution, however disappointing it may be.

Thankfully French director Martin Bourboulon says non to all that with his latest film, which dips into the classic French literature that marks a pleasing return of swashbuckling to our screens.

boom reviews The Three Musketeers: D’artagnan
I don't know about you, but i really fancy a croissant.

Having just arrived in Paris is young D’artagnan (François Civil). He has dreams of joining the prestigious guards of King Louis XIII (Louis Garrel), known as the musketeers.

Unfortunately for him, he makes a bad impression, on three separate occasions, forcing him into a number of duels, so he finds himself in a new city facing death multiple times. Even worse, all the duels are against the top tier of musketeers, going by the names Athos (Vincent Cassel), Aramis (Romain Duris) and Porthos (Pio Marmaï).

As fate should have it, a more pressing matter comes to hand, that actually works in D’artagnan’s favour, with the three musketeers warming to him.

Which is just a swell, as their numbers are about to dwindle, with a plot to bring the King’s court into chaos, and D’artagnan’s skill with a sword proving to be very useful.

boom reviews The Three Musketeers: D’artagnan
So just remember that our password to the wi-fi is all41...

With Bourboulon’s last feature being the absorbing Eiffel, starring musketeer Duris no less, he already got a feel for dramatic period pieces. He takes that to a whole new level here however, in what is a sumptuous adaptation of Alexandre Dumas’ classic 1944 novel.

It has the look of a big budget Hollywood flick, but with a very European sensibility, with 1827 Paris looking stunning.

And then you have the casting featuring Civil, who is simply ridiculously handsome as D’artagnan. And then you have the ‘old’ guard of Cassel and Duris, in roles they clearly relished playing. The only disappointment is with Porthos, not that Marmaï is bad, but you just feel it could have done with the likes of Jean Reno in the role, just to complete a very fab trio indeed.

Certainly making up for it is Eva Green, cast as Milady de Winter, who in a nice twist, plays the villain of the piece, being as she is the major thorn in the sides of the musketeers.

Unfortunately the swashbuckling flick has fallen out of favour somewhat over the years, but Bourboulon’s film proves that if it’s done right, it still makes for cracking entertainment.

In fact one of the earlier set pieces featured, plays out like a musketeers version of a Marvel epic, with each hero battling against their foe, helping one another out. And if it was ripped from a Marvel action playbook, more power to it, as it’s extremely effective.

The down side is that it does end on a cliff-hanger, but the very good news is that there’s a sequel - The Three Musketeers: Milady - due at the end of the year, which will no doubt continue this highly enjoyable story, and also feature Eva Green once again.

Although it’s a very French tale, it’s not one that even the French have produced many film versions of over the years. Under Bourboulon’s assured direction, he provides a hugely entertaining adaptation, which when compared to recent outings is undoubtedly a cut above.

we give this four out of five