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.
On the day that a serial killer that he helped put away is supposed to be executed, a noted forensic psychologist and college professor receives a call informing him that he has 88 minutes left to live.
It's a hot summer day in 1933 in South Philly, where 12-year old Gennaro lives with his widowed mom and his ailing grandpa, who sits outside holding tight to his last quarter, which he's ... See full summary »
Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio,
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
Peter O'toole almost got a version up and running in 1970, but a change of management at MGM led to it being cancelled. See more »
When the Jews are carrying the Torah around the synagogue, the prayers and garb is appropriate. The Torah would only be taken out to be read. Traditional Jews only read Torah in the morning, when the light for reading would be best before the advent of artificial lighting. Therefore the Torah would not have been out at that time of day. See more »
So may the outward shows be least themselves: The world is still deceived with ornament.
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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.
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