The novel The Three Musketeers, by Alexandre Dumas, has been transposed to the cinema many times. Even Mickey, Donald and Goofy have embodied the protectors of the King of France. But the last French adaptation dates back to 1961.

Without saying they are bad, the American and British versions sometimes overlooked certain historical aspects of the story. What Martin Bourboulon (Eiffel, Papa or Maman) offers is a film faithful to the book that has nothing to envy to the blockbusters of the genre.

You probably know the story, but let’s go: Charles D’Artagnan (François Civil) dreams of becoming a musketeer, like his father before him. He goes to Paris to offer his services to King Louis XIII (Louis Garrel), but unwittingly and successively provokes the musketeers Athos (Vincent Cassel), Porthos (Pio Marmaï) and Aramis (Romain Duris). As D’Artagnan prepares to face them one after the other in a duel, men of Cardinal Richelieu (Éric Ruf) stop them, because these fights are prohibited. The four sword experts team up to defeat their opponents, but Athos will then be trapped and imprisoned for murder. His three friends will try to clear him, but will discover during their investigation that a plot by the cardinal could trigger a new religious war between France and England.

The Three Musketeers: D’Artagnan is the first part of a diptych that will conclude in December with Milady. They were filmed at the same time in several places in France. Dressed to match the era, the places are operated in such a way as to allow a credible immersion in 1627 in addition to giving very beautiful images. Quebec cinematographer Nicolas Bolduc, who worked with François Girard on Hochelaga, land of souls, among others, makes wonderful use of natural light. The balance between day and night scenes allows both to create a variety of atmospheres, but also to see the time passing in an adventure where it is counted. We should also underline the quality of the costumes and the make-up – the heroes on mission are dirty – which contribute to the realism of this historical fresco.

Contrary to what the trailer suggests, the screenplay by Alexandre De La Patellière and Matthieu Delaporte also includes humor and tenderness. The camaraderie of the Musketeers brings smiles, and the budding love between D’Artagnan and Constance Bonacieux (Lyna Khoudri) is particularly delightful.

The talented cast of actors in the credits is largely responsible for the success of this new adaptation. François Civil (The one you believe, Bac Nord) embodies a D’Artagnan who charms us with his temerity, his courage and his naivety. The chemistry operates as much between him and his sweetheart as with his brothers in arms.

Despite their very different personalities, the three musketeers are played with nuance by actors of great talent. They remain the solitary dean, the angry bon vivant and the charmer with many contradictions, but we avoid clichés.

Louis Garrel slips effectively into the skin of the young king who asserts himself timidly. Vicky Krieps, who plays his wife, Anne of Austria, is particularly touching.

Eventually, Eva Green once again excels as a treacherous woman. Its thick carapace does not entirely hide its wounds, which makes it possible to empathize with the vulnerability of Milady. She is fascinating and we understand the producers for having made her the central character of the sequel.