Generally favorable reviews - based on 35 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 33 Ratings

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  • Starring: , , ,
  • Summary: Set in the lavish era of 16th century Italy, The Merchant of Venice follows the interlocking lives of a captivating assortment of Shakespearean characters in this story wrought with morality, revenge, redemption and love. (Sony Pictures Classics)
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 22 out of 35
  2. Negative: 2 out of 35
  1. An exceptional example of Shakespeare on film.
  2. Pacino shows you what is only subliminally in the text: that Shylock's heart of stone is really a wall of wounded pride.
  3. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    Pacino seems to recall, from his early Michael Corleone days, the power of whispered menace.
  4. Reviewed by: David Rooney
    Despite a series of disclaimers about the treatment of Jews in the 16th century, there's even less disguising onscreen than onstage that this is an uncomfortably anti-Semitic play and somewhat problematic for contempo audiences.
  5. 63
    Intriguing but ultimately unfulfilling.
  6. Taking one's pound of flesh and having it, too, leads to a queasy comedy in which Pacino burns a hole in the screen while the frivolity around him sputters.
  7. Reviewed by: Phil Hall
    The single worst Shakespeare film ever made.

See all 35 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 13 out of 19
  2. Negative: 3 out of 19
  1. Nov 14, 2010
    Sorry, machine translation.

    Mario Praz.

    "No eye has a jew? It has no hands, organs, limbs, senses, affections, passions? Not nourished
    by food? He does not feel the wounds? He is not subject to the ills? Summer and winter are not hot and cold for a jew as a Christian? If you prick us, do not do blood? Do not die if you poison us? So, if we offended and abused, we should not think of revenge? If you are the same for the rest, well want to look like this! If a Christian is offended by a jew, as he shows his famous charity? With revenge! And if a Christian offends a jew, as these may prove to be tolerant if not, his example, in revenge? I did nothing but build on the villainy you teach me that, and will be very difficult for me to stay below the masters. "Shylock

    Tragedy, comedy, tragicomedy? I leave you to decide. One thing is certain, the list of the works of Shakespeare in 1623, insert, The Merchant of Venice, among the comedies. This collection is called the First Folio. I do not participate in the drawing rooms of the learned Wednesday night at the royal residence of Margaret of Savoy (1851-1926), nor are Bilderbergers. My intention is to create a little 'interest in young people, for an author, Shakespeare, who has a wonderful talent. Arouses curiosity through its beautiful and colorful characters.
    The curiosity, the passions, are also born by chance. And so, one day, by chance, I find myself in your hands a book of the History of English Literature at a certain Mario Praz (Rome, September 6, 1896 - Rome, March 23, 1982) unanimously considered the best (I discover, , as an adult), after reading a few pages sparks. I think that curiosity can also be caused, induced. Come on teachers, better go to the movies that "drugs or alcohol." Hashish, Cocaine, Heroin, Ecstasy, Kobret, Popper, Beer, **** Primer, bottled alcohol, try to replace them with Shylock, Antonio, Bassanio, Portia and so on. From young adult, I find again that the prof. Mario Praz get awards and titles.
    These include:

    1957 received the Honorary Doctorate in Letters conferred by the University of Cambridge;
    1960 he was sworn to Venice International Venice Film Festival;
    1962 by Queen Elizabeth II gets the title of Knight Commander of the British Empire.
    And much more. An Italian who writes the best English literature. Sorry if it is little. The director Michael Radford, bolstered by a strong cast, led by a text driven, has created a masterpiece. Why not take advantage? I invite the young, old, film lovers to the vision of this work. I extend the same invitation to teachers of all levels. You will not regret. I hope.


    The characters are all likeable. Bassanio (Joseph Fiennes) is a noble, young, instinctive and impetuous, and too wasteful in love. Who? But Portia (Lynn Collins). The fair Portia lives in Belmont and that's where Bassanio must show all his skills, thinking, speaking, in deciding. A great mystery, to be resolved, it expects ...
    Bassanio, is now penniless, to reach his goal he needed money, lots of money. What to do? Here's the idea, why not turn to Antonio? (Jeremy Irons). Bassanio is sure to aid Antonio. Antonio is a merchant. Carries on business in Venice. Most of all, argue that Bassanio and Antonio ... ..., well, I stop. I said, Antonio has all his fortune at sea. In fact, his "Ragusin" or "Dubrovnik", so called the great Venetian galleys, on the road. So, no, at the time, hard cash. Who can claim him? Shylock! (Al Pacino), he can. Shylock is a jew devoted wear. He lives with his community in a "ghetto". The term ghetto was coined in that period. Anthony also makes loans, but unlike Shylock .... . This thing of loans and many more of Antonio, Shylock does not go down.
    Do you think that one day, for that reason, Shylock is derived a spit in the face of Anthony. Shylock has a reaction ... but think that maybe .... And think about it. Seize the opportunity to have Antonio as its debtor. Devises a daring and bizarre plan for its money does not pretend money, but .... Of course all this if at the end, Antonio, does not return the full amount.
    Antonio, to finance the project from Bassano, accept these strange conditions, before an official signing the contract.
    Bassano has the opportunity to travel to Belmont with Graziano (Kris Marshall).
    Meanwhile in Belmont, Portia is faced with three .... , And the suitors come to try to solve the mystery set up by his father before his death.

    Meanwhile, Shylock's daughter Jessica (Zuleikha Robinson) runs off with Bassanio's friend Lorenzo (Charlie Cox), brings with it .... . For Shylock, this is too much. Among other things, Lawrence is a ... (end of part one)
  2. RichardB.
    Sep 22, 2005
    This is an extraordinarily difficult play to produce. This production will literally set the bar for the 21st Century. Pacino is unforgettable, the casting is accurate generally, the photography inspired. Stunning. Expand
  3. Mar 31, 2013
    If you wanna see films where bad things happen to people, watch a Shakespeare film! His work is so well known it is integrated in daily Western culture. The expresion 'getting your pound of flesh' will be allot more clear after you've seen this movie. Superb acting all round and allthough Pacino struggles a bit with the old english accent he delivers an exellent Shylock. Lynn Collins (a native Texan) is brilliant as Portia, a young woman wise beyond her years. This 30m$ flick unsurprisingly bombed at the boxoffice, but I'm sure it'll get a deserved 2nd life on DVD and BD. Expand
  4. Jwv
    Jan 17, 2014
    This is a great popularized and verbally simplified version of Shakespeare for a wide audience with a top-notch cast. Especially Al Pacino's performance is genuinely moving, in his assuming the role of an embittered and torn old man, with superior feel for emotional shift and outstanding voice-acting. Lynn Collins also convinces with a good performance. The soundtrack is likable, light and strangely enchanting, and the scenery is beautiful.

    The movie does a great job of complicating the character of Shylock, and makes the viewer question his role as a victim or a villain. In the end, nobody will feel unmoved by the truly excellent and genuinely poignant court scene.

    The courting prices are shallow stereotypes and constitute the only kind of (unintentional) humour this otherwise dry movie brings. I do not understand the choice of not giving the play-appropriated importance and weight in consequence to the casket-scenes. This is strange, since the movie is clearly a dramatized version of the play, and else there is not much that distinguishes Portia from a common harlot when every man can come make his suit without consequence. It saddens me to see the superficiality of these scenes, because Shakespeare did provide more complex and sympathetic characters in the original.
  5. Mar 8, 2014
    Not a big fan of Shakespeare stories or movies. I haven't read the book / script, so I wasn't aware of the story. The film manages to build up some tension, but it was overlong. Expand

See all 19 User Reviews