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Red Violin [Import]
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The Red Violin
Mounted in high lavish style, from the opening strains to coda, The Red Violin pays homage to the careful uses of color and composition without bothering to support these qualities with any real substance. Oh, it's a class act on the surface all the way, while failing on nearly every other level to convince. The story tells the story, revealing precious little else. The 17th-century Cremonese instrument-maker Niccolo Bussotti finishes his final violin with a curious red varnish, the secret of which spans the film, yet will come as a surprise only to the very sleepy. The odd voyage of this unique violin through history is then explored from one episode to the next, from child prodigy to gypsies to Victorian virtuoso to a clandestine enclave of art lovers in Shanghai during the Cultural Revolution. This is all framed by the violin's rediscovery in present day by instrument appraiser Charles Morritz (Samuel L. Jackson), for whom the perfect instrument strikes a resonant chord. The main scheme of the film, an object connecting a number of seemingly disparate stories, has been used many times, most notably in Max Ophuls's La Ronde. But while this approach is employed elsewhere to cause one scene to reverberate against another, The Red Violin is content to leave each episode thematically unconnected with any of the others. On the decorative level, the film may satisfy many viewers with its sensuous attention to tone and detail, as well as its eclectic and expertly performed score. But as narrative it is very slight. Just pierce the pretty crust of this puff pastry and gaze in wonder at the pocket of air within. --Jim Gay
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Top Customer Reviews
It is true that, on a whole, some parts of the film work better than others. This is basically an anthology of stories with the Red Violin being the connecting thread---barely---and while three of the stories are fascinating and even enlightening and moving (the Cremona, Vienna, and Montreal sequences), the two others (the Oxford and Shanghai sequences) are either unintentionally funny (the former) or simply slight and kinda pointless (the latter). And yet the dud sequences are hardly enough to counteract the great things in the movie: not only its technical flash and beautiful music, but its resonant theme about how we all, at one point or another, yearn for perfection and can't let it slip away so easily when we find it. Certainly instrument evaluator Charles Morritz (Samuel L. Jackson, in a restrained but powerful performance) cannot let his vision of perfection, which the Red Violin embodies, escape him.
If nothing else, THE RED VIOLIN will perhaps enlighten non-music lovers about why we love the violin, and even music, so much. And that is enough for this uneven but overall wonderful film to be worth seeing by everyone.
Most recent customer reviews
Watch this. Amazing, amazing, amazing movie that has slipped under the radar for too many people.Published 23 months ago by Carolyn Poulter
I have watched this movie several times and it seems to have enough to captivate my imagination...what a terrific story!!Published on Feb. 27 2014 by CNDONBN
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