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The Merchant of Venice (Sous-titres français)

Al Pacino , Joseph Fiennes , Michael Radford    DVD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)

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From Michael Radford, the Academy Award®-nominated director of Il Postino, comes the critically-acclaimed screen adaptation of William Shakespeare's controversial classic, THE MERCHANT OF VENICE. Antonio (Jeremy Irons), a successful but cash-poor merchant, approaches Shylock (Al Pacino), a wealthy moneylender, for a loan to help his young friend Bassanio (Joseph Fiennes, Shakespeare in Love) woo the fair Portia (Lynn Collins, 13 Going on 30). Despite being longtime enemies, Shylock grants the request, but demands one pound of Antonio's flesh if the debt is not repaid on time. When Antonio defaults on the loan, Shylock seeks what is legally owed to him but soon learns that those to whom evil is done, do evil in return.

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4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of Shakespeare’s best - done beautifully! Nov. 12 2005
Format:DVD
This was a beautiful adaptation of the play the Merchant of Venice. Actually being filmed in Venice and in some of the surrounding lush and marvelous historic buildings and palaces and having breathtaking, dramatic lighting and costumes gave the film a feeling of a work of art in and of itself.
The superstitious and evil anti-Semitic practices of the place and era are shown as well as Antonio’s part in the conspiracy to whisk away Shylock’s daughter and stolen property. This background information gave a realistic build up to Shylock’s agitated mental state and makes the audience understand when he later goes after his just and rightful pound of flesh with such vengeance. Al Pacino steals the show with his wonderful performance. When I first read the play in High School I thought the character cared more for his money than his daughter – but this performance by Pacino gives a much more believable view of the character’s relationship with his daughter, Jessica.
Shakespeare, is years ahead of his time, his great humanitarianism shines through in this play – women educating themselves and saving the day with their bravery and intellect, a black suitor received with warmth and humor during a time of slavery and racism, and a Jewish man shown as a person with feelings and self worth in a time when Jews were considered sub-human ‘dogs’ by the Christian majority.
Although a negative view of Christianity is depicted in the opening scene where Franciscan monks are shown using the actual words of Paul from the Bible and Martin Luther to bring to trial by drowning (if guilty) a Jewish man being charged with money lending as he is thrown into the Grande Canal.
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By Daniel Jolley TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:DVD
Having watched this film, methinks one is best served by reading Shakespeare's play before watching this adaptation of it. I've always liked and truly appreciated Shakespeare, and never before have I found myself saying "huh" after certain lines of dialogue, but certain parts of this film quite lost me - to a large extent, I think, this is due to the fact that an infernal number of lines are whispered and hard to pick up, let alone translate from Shakespearean English to modern English. I also had trouble early on distinguishing between two of the male characters (they both had the same grubby, long hairstyle). And then you've got characters donning and doffing hideous masks left and right, which doesn't help either. I had no trouble following the principal storyline, but this film left me with questions concerning some of the minor subplots - had I read the play beforehand, I'm sure these questions would not nag me. The film does feature wonderful cinematography and some really strong actors and actresses in the main roles, and the most crucial scene vibrates with suspense and nervous energy, but I think it plays much, much better to those already familiar with the play.

This is an immensely complicated story that leaves you with much food for thought. Al Pacino is incredible as Shylock, imbuing his character with power and vehemence that comes off the screen in waves. I find myself quite torn in my appraisal of Shylock; he is both victim and devil, and Pacino captures his dual nature to outstanding effect. As a Jew living in 16th century Venice, Shylock (like all of his people) was cruelly treated and persecuted for his race and faith.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Character Study Dec 7 2013
By Roller
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This movie gives the background to "The Merchant of Venice". One has to understand the Background for the play, otherwise some of the Dialogue seems confusing. The Play is very well acted, it must be said that this is not a "Light Comedy" ; rather it is a Drama. If someone is looking for a "Character Study" with a lot of depth, I recommend this DVD.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Shakepearian Masterpiece Aug. 5 2013
Format:DVD
This is one of the great works of a great writer. There is so much to learn from this story it inspired me to write a blog ([...] about it and courtroom dramas. I just saw a very good live performance at the Stratford Festival mainly because I liked this movie version so much. An excellent cast, shot in Venice in the Elizabethan period. Subtitles would have made this even better.
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