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D'Artagnan's Daughter Review

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Eloise is the daughter of the famous Musketeer, D'Artagnan, raised in a convent in Southern France. She longs for the swashbuckling adventure and heroics of her father, but finds her dreams come true in an unwelcome way when the Mother Superior is killed, and Eloise sets off to track down her killer.

★★★★★

In their heyday, swashbucklers used to come that bit more swashier than this protracted, but nonetheless fun, escapade. A surprisingly light-hearted exercise for the normally realist-leaning Gallic director Bertrand Tavernier in which the lovely Sophie Marceau sparkles as the fille determined to step into the thigh boots of her legendary musketeer papa.

Eloise (Marceau) is an idealistic convent girl whose blood boils when the dastardly Duc de Crassac (the deliciously malevolent Rich) and his wicked paramour The Lady In Red (Charlotte Kady) put into motion a fiendish conspiracy, kicking off with the unintended murder of Eloise's beloved Mother Superior. Revenge is clearly called for, and fortunately Eloise has the necessary skills as horsewoman and swordswoman written into her heroic genes.

Cue plenty of clashing blades and dashing about 17th Century landscapes as headstrong Eloise tries to foil the baddies and rouse her aged pop D'Artagnan (Noiret) from his been-there-done-that indifference. En route she also collects a smitten tragically-inclined poet sidekick and innocently contributes to the schemes of boy king Louis XIV's devious counsellor, Cardinal Mazarin.

As they canter from countryside and The Louvre to tavern brawls and sinister chateaux, Machiavellian intrigue is amusingly built up around multiple comic misunderstandings. The film's greatest asset in all this adventuresome bluster is its well seasoned characters with their knowing, droll air - the highlight undoubtedly the eventual reunion of Dumas' original quartet for king, country, and a pretty, but insufferably bossy, young lady. At over two hours, though, one wishes for more urgency in l'affaire which meanders between jaunty outbreaks, as if forgetful that it's meant to be a romp.

While D'Artagnan's daughter is easy on the eye and clearly her daddy's girl, she's not quite rollicking enough to live up to his legend.