THE MAN IN THE IRON MASK
It is the year 1662, and the French King Louis XIII has died, leaving the ruthless and
arrogant Louis XIV as the only heir to the throne ... or is he? King Louis XIV (portrayed by
Leonardo DiCaprio) has mercilessly locked his twin brother Philippe (also DiCaprio) into an
iron mask and disposed of him in the Bastille, never to be seen or recognized again. To
conceal the fact that two heirs were born, it was conceived that hiding the existence of
one would eliminate future "problems". Their mother, Queen Anne, kept the secret known only
to those very close to the King, including former Musketeer D'Artagnan (played by Gabriel
Bryne), who displayed complete loyalty to the throne and obvious affection towards the Queen.
Phillippe, unaware that it was his evil brother who plotted against him or that he is also
heir to the throne, spends his days in torturous desperation, while Louis' only thoughts are
of his next amorous conquest and the constant "wars" to be fought. Louis' obvious unconcern
is also apparent in his indifference to the suffering of his people, who starve and riot in
the streets, while the young King lives a lavish lifestyle within the confines of his palace.
During a party given at the palace, Louis becomes enamored with Christine, the fiance of Raoul,
son of Athos (brilliantly played by John Malkovich), once a member of the famed Three
Musketeers. Louis immediately sends Raoul, a young soldier, off to fight on the front lines
of war; Raoul is killed in battle, and Athos and two other Musketeers -- Porthos (Gerard
Depardieu) and Aramis (Jeremy Irons) -- conspire to eliminate the heartless King. Though
the threesome had retired years earlier after loyally serving King Louis XIII, they band
together once again.
Aramis, now a Jesuit priest, hears of a rumor of a masked prisoner believed to be the
imprisoned twin of Louis; they plot to free Philippe, and switch the brothers during a
masquerade party at the palace. The only person still threatening their success is D'Artagnan,
trainer of the Musketeers and head of the King's security. He is beginning to question Louis'
ability to govern wisely; when he discovers the switch, he is reluctant to accuse his former
Louis is dragged off to the Bastille, and Philippe briefly assumes the role of King, until
Louis reappears to regain his throne. Philippe is returned to prison, more secrets are
revealed, and a swashbuckling finale pairs the Musketeers against the palace guards.
Return to Cheddarbay Sitemap