Alexandre Dumas' historical novel comes to life yet again in this 1998 production starring Leonardo DiCaprio in the dual role of Louis XIV, king of France, and his brother Philippe. When the twins were born, their father the king had decided to get rid of one, fearing that they would fight for the crown; so he secretly sent Philippe away. The boy was raised in seclusion, knowing nothing about his heritage. Later on he was locked in Bastille and forced to wear a large iron mask so that no one would recognize him.
Louis, now grown up and king of France, knows about this but does nothing to ease his brother's life. Selfish and unfeeling, Louis shocks even his own mother. His country is at war and his people starve, but all Louis cares for is women and partying. When his selfishness goes too far, the famous three musketeers, now aged but still strong and brave, decide that they no longer wish to serve such a king. Aramis (Jeremy Irons) knows about Philippe. He wants to release the king's brother and, after some training, have him replace the king - without anyone knowing the difference.
When I first started watching the movie, I thought Leo DiCaprio was a little too young for these roles, making the king and his brother look more like teens than young men; however, his solid acting soon won me over. DiCaprio does a great job. Supporting actors are also good; Gabriel Byrne stands out as D'Artagnan, the chief of the king's guard who has a secret of his own. Unfortunately, Gerard Depardieu's Porthos is reduced to a cheap comic relief.
While I remain a fan of the 1997 made for TV version of this story starring Richard Chamberlain, I would say this one is quite good as well.