In 16th century Venice, when a merchant must default on a large loan from an abused Jewish moneylender for a friend with romantic ambitions, the bitterly vengeful creditor demands a gruesome payment instead.
Venice, 1596. Melancholy Antonio loves the youthful Bassanio, so when Bassanio asks for 3000 ducats, Antonio says yes before knowing it's to sue for the hand of Portia. His capital tied up in merchant ships at sea, Antonio must go to Shylock, a Jewish moneylender he reviles. Shylock wraps his grudge in kindness, offering a three-month loan at no interest, but if not repaid, Antonio will owe a pound of flesh. The Jew's daughter elopes with a Christian, whetting Shylock's hatred. While Bassanio's away wooing Portia, Antonio's ships founder, and Shylock demands his pound of flesh. With court assembled and a judgment due, Portia swings into action to save Bassanio's friend. Written by
Brilliant film, if ever so slightly too long (Pacino is magnificent)
this film was truly amazing to watch, the costumes and scenery were first-class. Michael Radford has done a tremendous job, on a fairly constrained budget (as he said at the London Premiere). Costumes and general time period pieces were exquisite and Oscar nominations for these would seem in the running.
The acting was simply superb. Al Pacino was (as ALWAYS) perfect. He captured the torture of emotions that run through Shylock impeccably and easily stole the spotlight whenever he was on screen. Jeremy Irons paved the way for great British acting in his earlier times, and now has done the same. Also Lynn Collins, a fairly recent newcomer was perfect as Portia. She was stunning to look at and managed to pull of the speeches with grace.
Although i have all this praise, the film was definitely over-long and many scenes seemed to me like they could have done with a few edits or too. However, the atmosphere of Venice was amazing and it truly felt real in all the mannerisms of the actors.
Ultimately a very successful and ambitious film, that leaves nothing to the imagination, as it is a very realistic approach to Shakespeare. Beautiful to look at and incredible actors too (especially for Pacino) make this a great film that i would watch again an recommend at the drop of a Venetian hat.
51 of 66 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?