The Red Violin (1998) Poster

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10/10
Absolutely wonderful
Bruce Jones6 July 1999
I thought this might be one of those films that would be "good for me" to see. I was mildly intrigued by descriptions of the story I had read and with the trailer, so I thought to take a chance. I took someone very close to me, an actual violin prodigy. Coincidently, her and I have recently been searching for a decent violin for her that is affordable by actual humans, so we could relate to parts of the plot first-hand. We arrived to a very thin theater in one of those mega-complex theaters, and while everyone was queuing up next-door to see the latest blockbuster from Hollywood I settled into an amazingly comfortable seat with an excellent view and prepared for whatever might come.

I was shocked. This film turned out to be clearly one of the best movie going experiences I have had in ages. We see this as the story unfolds and is creatively told through the reading of the violin makers wife's fortune with a deck of Tarot cards. It is the story of a part of the life of a violin; of the humans who would dare to possess her beauty. A masterpiece of a craftsman's art, it is desired by many for it's acoustic perfection. But, as Tolstoy said, "how complete is the delusion that beauty is goodness." Or more interestingly, from Saint Augustine: "Beauty is indeed a good gift of God; but that the good may not think it a great good, God dispenses it even to the wicked." There seems to be a curse on this instrument as it brings ill to those who manage to possess it. This makes the ending especially eerie.

An original, imaginative and thought provoking story that engaged one's mind as American films almost never do. I will not describe more of the plot, it's far too good to ruin. The memory of this film will be one long treasured.

Oh, as for my guest, the honest-to-God prodigy: she said the music was magnificent (it was) even though a real musician could tell the actors weren't playing, it was well done.
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Wow.
Sandman-4019 June 1999
I saw this film the same day it came highly recommended to me by a coffee shop friend who couldn't stop gushing about it. While this guy is also a member of the Academy and has steered me to some pretty good picks in the past, I walked into the theater fearing the usual letdown that invariably follows going into a film with overly high expectations (i.e. The English Patient, The Truman Show, etc.) This film not only managed to exceed my expectations, it restored my faith in the magic and mystery of cinema altogether.

We start with a rather simple but cleverly structured story about a very unique red violin that emblematically (and quite literally for that matter) takes on the heart and fate of a 16th century Italian woman as it passes across several centuries and continents on its way to the auction block in present day Montreal. The unfolding vignettes reveal more and more about the nature of this instrument and, when strung together in the bigger picture, play out like finely orchestrated movements of a great sonata; each movement plucking out its own stirring and poignant variation on theme. I was so swept up in the majesty and spectacle of this film that it didn't even occur to me until much later that the violin is nothing less than a personification of beauty itself (okay, okay, maybe I'm starting to overly deconstruct things here in retrospect, but the parallels are too perfect to remain unexplored). It's fascinating to watch both the transformative and destructive power of this beauty as it's placed into the hands of a sensitive young boy, a self absorbed musical protege, and a remorseful ring leader of a totalitarian regime. Much praise goes to director Francois Girard in how he refrained from overplaying the social and moral commentary, repeating this theme at mostly an emotional level rather than an intellectual one -- much in the same way that beauty itself, to some degree anyway, defies analytical discussion and belongs in the realm of pure and simple experience. You obviously can't dissect it, as co-writer Don McKellar¹s onscreen character thought to do, and so it remains as it was in it's original form: timeless, magical, elusive. The stuff that pompous nobility and rich collectors the world over will offer a king's ransom for and still never manage to posses in the end.

Performances were good to great all around. It's hard to go wrong with Samuel L. Jackson in a leading role and I appreciated the fact that the actors actually appeared to be playing the violin on camera, as opposed to watching the typical hokey cutaways and cheat shots often associated with onscreen musical performances; nauseating contrivances that always tear down the wall of suspended disbelief with a resounding crash. The costuming, set design and cinematography were absolutely stunning (Oscar nominations soon to follow I'm sure) without taking center stage from the story. I especially loved the amazing period recreations of China and Austria. I felt like I was fully transported in both space and time to these places and walking among people who really belonged there.

Overall I would rate this one as a true film classic on the level of masterpiece. Perhaps this is in part due to my love for music and the undeniable fact that, being the sentimental guy that I am, I'm always a sucker for haunting open-ended films like this where you leave the theater in a half daze, pondering all the implications, mesmerized by the lingering imagery. I'm still speculating about the future of Mr. Moritz and what will ultimately happen when beauty is placed into the hands of our modern world.
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Unforgettable experience
rudat4 February 2001
After watching too many would-be "great pieces" lately that are enticing you from TV commercials, leaving you (or me, I should say) disappointed most of the time, "The Red Violin" is a gem among all these fleeting flicks or time-wasters. Recommended by a good friend I went to see this piece and frankly, I came out of the theater speechless! I was overwhelmed, enriched as well as happy that I finally, in years, got to see something that's well worth while.

From the story, costumes, cinematography, acting and finally its greatest actor -the superb music- all absolutely flawless! S.L.Jackson acts at his best, his performance is unforgettable and I am sure one of his own most favourite; I can tell. I was estatic to see J.Corigliano win the Oscar for the best score, and saddened at the fact that the whole movie wasn't nominated for even more Oscars - are they blind in that Academy or what?! Now that's a shame but you know what I don't care what the Academy has to say, important is my subjective feeling and this movie made my day, and days to come.

I couldn't wait to get hold of both, the video and the sound track, and I never seem to get tired watching or hearing that beauty all over again. And believe it or not, that ingenious soundtrack can be so erotic at times that if I may give a little advice to all these men out there seeking to entice and seduce their partners - hey, this might be the way to go - worked for me (and her!)!!!

Anyways, I'd like to recommend this movie to everybody with an open heart and mind, I guarantee satisfaction and enrichment in every possible way. And lastly let me bestow my gratitude and thanks to the very director F.Girard for enlightening my spirit, my heart and my soul with his vision of a truly quality story that I can never forget.
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Take the journey
mhmslm4 March 2000
The Red Violin is the saga of spirit and soul as they press onward through time. The adventure begins with Anna, a young woman whose only child brings about her untimely death. A gift of a violin to be given to the babe becomes host to Anna's spirit. The Red Violin narrowly escapes the grips of greed, ignorance, and vengeful lust as she is passed from hand to hand of those who would have her. She wanders about the globe until at last she is exonerated by the one man who knows the truth that she holds within her wooden belly.

In spite of the death and despair, the film is truly positive. It teaches us to appreciate people from all walks of life. From the violin maker of the 16th century who made the Red Violin for the bittersweet arrival of his baby son, we travel through time with the violin to the Chinese Communist Party who spelled out certain death to any instrument that may threaten the ideals of the collective. In our travels, we learn the dark and sordid side to each person, but we also learn that to create a shadow there must be light. That light, or hope, that the people shed is what gives the violin her vitality and will to survive.

A truly magnificent film, The Red Violin inspired me to recollect my own past I shared with my aged upright piano; the certain spiritual vibrations I felt while playing a ragtime melody. Suddenly, memories came rushing back to me tenfold. I recalled the times as a young girl I would listen as my father played his rendition of Scott Joplin's Maple Leaf Rag. Wiping a tear from my eye, I remembered how long ago that truly was; how my piano shaped and molded me, as I shaped and molded it. I am left wondering where my beloved piano is now. Who is influencing his instrumental life? In the end, what stories will he have to tell, and will they be of me

Take the journey of the Red Violin. Visit other lands and other times. Feel the strings of life against your fingers; the bow of spirit in your palm. Rest your chin against the weathered wood of wisdom. Listen closely and hear the music that is the gentle rhythm of time and change. See the film to learn about music; to learn about history; to learn the boundless raptures of the spirit. Perhaps, as I, you will learn just a little more about yourself.
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A wonderful journey
david.farthing6 April 2000
I was captivated from the moment the film started. The music flowed effortlessly and the scene was set immediately.

Some people may be put off by the use of foreign language and subtitles early on in the film but I found this served to enhance the story and grab my attention even more. It reminds you of the true beauty of language and music and no matter what your taste you cannot help but to be drawn into the story.

The story follows the journey of the Red Violin from its creation and you really feel that something special is happening from the way the red violin is revered. The different people who come into contact with the instrument all have there own stories and you find yourself trying to guess how the Violin will affect them. Sometimes you are right and sometimes not.

Francois Girard has produced a wonderful film and the original score enhances this. This film is one that I will watch again and again and one that should be highly recommended.
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Measured, thoughtful account of near-mystical instrument
pooch-86 August 1999
Literally spanning centuries to unfold its mesmerizing tale, The Red Violin traces the unbelievable history of an acoustically flawless masterpiece crafted in the late 1600s by an Italian master. Co-screenwriters Francois Girard (who directed) and Don McKellar (who acts in the film) structure the movie around a wealth of richly detailed locales, including Vienna, China, and Oxford, and provide a unique modern-day Montreal framework which intertwines with the often tragic history of the instrument to provide the narrative with a rather unique element of mystery. The late-19th century English section shows the film at its most baroque, but each of the finely tuned tales reaches for some truth about music, life, love, and passion -- and that is commendable. Music lovers take note: the sounds that come out of the crimson treasure throughout the course of its journey are utterly thrilling and inspiring.
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Not perfect, but mighty close! This film forces you to pay attention!
NaplesMacMan2 October 2004
The mystique of violin making has always intrigued me so this film was a big attraction for me going in, and I wasn't disappointed for one second!

OK, first of all, the obvious things that make it special: reality, craft, acting, scoring, and cinematography! It takes only a few seconds to know that this gem did NOT emanate from the money grubbers in Hokeywood California as one more way to titillate teenagers with sex, violence, and computer generated special effects with a subliminal message that sells products. Nope! This film was made by film makers who understand the power of a story well told, and REAL cinema.

Cutting back and forth repeatedly between the present and various disparate periods and places from the past, THE RED VIOLIN forces the viewer to pay attention and most of all... THINK!

The Red Violin is NOT the subject here but a catalyst to stimulate thought about human behavior and how different societies have related to art as we move through the centuries.

The casting was (on the whole) excellent though the choice of Samuel L. Jackson as a learned expert in ancient instruments was not convincing for me personally. And, the NON-ending which is more of a comment on human habits of acquisition than human nobility, was just not what I considered a definitive ending. (Maybe that was the point! "Everything continues endlessly...")

If you go to movies as an excuse to nibble away on munchies and get titillation, well, this one's NOT for you. BUT, if you have the patience to watch and think simultaneously as a great story unfolds, then SEE this film immediately!
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9/10
An ambitious story that delivers
T-106 September 1999
What can you say about a film that covers three centuries, people from all stations of society, and several European countries and Canada. Ambitious is a good start. This film was very well crafted and at about one hundred forty minutes was too short for me. The story follows a red violin, an inanimate object, although at times it seemed alive to me, thru three centuries and the influences good and ill that it has on its possessors. It does ever seem to be owned. Each of its possessors lives a life of passion and turmoil. The violin's birth is during turmoil and during its life it buried, shot, and almost burned. The writing which includes this parallel between the violin and its possessor , five somewhat independent segments that mell and converge in the final scenes, and a story told by tarot cards make for an extremely unique experience. Add to that the musical score, scenery, the varied languages and cultures and you have a great offering. The performances were all strong, but I thought Jason Flemyng as Lord Frederick Pope stood out. To say his character was eccentric and maybe a little over the top is justifiable but I'm sure that was intended. English nobility has always been known for its idiosyncrasies. The ending has incongruous feel with the remainder of the film but is satisfactory and I can not suggest a better one. Great entertainment! Three and a half stars!!!
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9/10
emotional
Jess-246 December 1998
this movie, like a book of short stories, can hook you once and annoy you the next. The segments follow a violin for 3 centuries obviously shooting for a wide range of settings, thus a wide range of stories and characters. But they are all much different. The Red Violin will be rewarding for those who pay attention, and a pain for those who don't, because the transaction of the violin from person to person isn't smooth, whoever is not willing to pay attention should steer clear. I definitely recommend it to all big movie buffs, because those willing to see it, should. I really enjoyed Don Mcellars work before, and this is no different. Some segments, like 'Vienna' are very enjoyable and sad (in a good way, like bambi's mom getting shot) well some like 'Oxford' are dark and depressing. You may not leave thinking it's spectacular, but ya gotta respect it. Thumbs up.
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9/10
A wonderful and very musical movie.
Philip Van der Veken25 March 2005
Independent movies or Asian and European films (to make it easy, let's say all movies that haven't been produced by some big Hollywood studio), always seem to have a certain group of fans, not because they are good, but because they are "different". That so-called in-crowd believes that every movie that hasn't been made by a big studio is great art and that all other movies are bad. Never tell them that sometimes the opposite can be true, because they can't and won't believe you. Well, I'm not one of them and I watch all movies with a critical eye. And yes, I try to see as many of those "alternative" movies as well. But that's just because I'm a movie buff who is interested in all kinds of movies, not because I'm convinced that this kind of movies is automatically a lot better than the rest.

In this movie we don't follow some people, but a violin on its journey through time and the world. The movie starts in present day Montreal, where "the red violin", a famous Nicolo Bussotti violin, is being auctioned off. But instead of staying with the auction all the time, we flash back to the creation of the violin in 17th century Italy and then follow it as it makes its way through an 18th century Austrian monastery/orphanage, a violinist in 19th century Oxford and China during Mao's Cultural Revolution... Each time it brings the person who owns it a lot of fame, but also bad luck and despair, often resulting in the death of the owner or someone the owner really loves...

What I appreciated in this movie is that it wasn't just an ordinary drama or thriller. It actually tried to be original and it succeeded very well. Another thing that I also really liked was the fact that not every detail of the movie was clear until the end (for instance why the fortune teller's predictions come true, but not for the woman, but for the violin instead.). It sometimes seems that the creators of movies don't even bother about adding some mystery in their movies anymore and I really miss that. That's probably why I liked it so much in this one.

Once in a while you come across a movie that you might call a gem. Well, "The Red Violin" is one of those truly magnificent gems. It's beautiful in every possible way. The music is excellent (although you better love violin music, because that's all you'll here), the acting is very nice and the story really is very beautiful. I guess I could talk for hours about this movie, but it's better to watch it than to read about it, so I'll end my review by saying that this is a wonderful and very musical movie that doesn't deserve any less than an 8.5/10.
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Absolutely amazing from start to finish
LezPoolShark17 March 2001
I originally saw this movie for the sole purpose of seeing a movie about a violin. Being a violinist myself, I must say that the music in this film is what first attracted me. However, as I watched the story unfold before me, I realized that there is so much more to this film. The story is enchanting. It draws the audience into its powerful grip, keeping their attention from the very first second as the sordid life of the Red Violin is slowly revealed. There is immensely remarkable work displayed in this film, and the music is just as enchanting as the story. I think this is a true masterpiece, and should be seen by everyone at least once....
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9/10
Heavily Underrated
LiteDesign6 July 2000
An incredibly well-thought-through connecting storyline makes this movie a pleasure to watch. Its screenplay was one of the most unfortunate Oscar snubs this year. Although not necessarily the best, it deserves recognition for its creativity.
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7/10
A wonderful ride, a bit thin by the end, but great mise-en-scene meanwhile
secondtake9 July 2012
The Red Violin (1998)

A total romantic fiction, rather compelling in its construction over many centuries, and beautifully wrought in each era.

I don't suppose the violin needs romanticizing, nor does it need a kind of obvious group hug view of its history, but that's the feel good, up and down, loving story it takes. First there is the small violin shop where it is made, and the tragedy around this particular model, the maker's last. It's supposed to come from the same era as the Strad and other timeless fiddles. It's a great place to begin a story filled with mysteries (and the mystery of a great violin, it's shape, wood, and varnish, is given high tech reinforcement in the end with an electronic awe). So the violin is born.

And it moves from a Austrian orphanage (with an unbelievable prodigy) to generations of gypsies (some interesting filming with the violin suspended in space as one after another player takes it up) to a crackpot British prodigy (who acts more like a rock star and an indulgent one, if that's not redundant). Finally it winds its way (not so improbably, because life is weird) to China, which of course echoes the modern rise of the Asian virtuosi coming from that part of the world.

So the tale is the history of a violin, a possessed one. The spirit of the instrument seems to inhabit the movie. This is reinforced by an Italian fortune-teller (a kindly witch) who has an early Tarot deck. The Tarot was not used for divination that early--it was introduced a card game in Northern Italy in the late 1400s--but that's okay, because it works into the plot really well. Five cards are chosen by the pregnant wife of the master violin maker. Each is turned over for another twenty minute chapter in the movie. In a key moment, the wife asks the fortune teller, what if I don't like what it says, what if it's evil? And the fortune teller says, "I'll pretend not to notice."

Promptly the moon is the first card, the most ominous card in the deck (I've studied tarot a bit, which is why, weirdly enough, I watched the movie). But the fortune teller doesn't say that doom is facing the pregnant wife. Instead she lies, and the movie takes one turn after another.

You might think this is brilliant stuff, and it has the trappings of that. It could have been, with some slight twist of intentions, artfully transcendent. But it's a hair long at times, and by the last (modern) scenes, a bit cold and unfulfilling. I don't know the solution to what might have worked, but I know it left me interested and curious by the end, not quite bowled over, which is clearly (on the sleeve) the intention.

Still, an engaging, musically rich tapestry of great scenes, great music, and a brimming story. Recommended, with slight reservations.
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9/10
Recognition for an unusual epic
Patrick Duplessis25 May 2005
Just to tease those who have not seen this incredible work of art and to make the others think you should see it again !

Who could think that a movie about a simple violin could turn into such magnificent beauty? «The Red Violin» whole story is based on a piece of wood and strings, which carries a whole story of humanity and social issues. We travel through 400 years of history and music, to end up in what you might think is the end of the story of the «red violin» but in fact, takes you to the next chapter.

If you are a classical and historical music fan, you will love this movie. The Oscar to composer John Corigliano was not an option.

François Girard clearly has something for music, as he did another wonderful movie about pianist Glenn Gould, «Thirty Two Short Films About Glenn Gould», a movie that really drives us through the life of a great piano interpreter. Quite different from «The Red Violin», but quite good too. I can't wait to see his next movie, if he ever plans to do one, but the challenge to surpass «The Red Violin» is quite big.
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4/10
Unsatisfactory
Nynaeve5 February 2000
Visually, this movie has everything going for it. Costume and set design and cinematography win my applause, and maybe some awards. Unfortunately, though, the script was weak, and much of the acting weaker. Maybe due to the brevity of each piece, I couldn't connect with the the characters or their relationship to the violin-the central theme in each of the 5 stories. Maybe you have to be a string player to fully appreciate this one, it seems to be written by and for violinists.
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10/10
A most enchanting movie
Greg Mullins6 May 2009
There are a few great films about artists like Camille Claudelle, Goya in Bordeaux and Tous Les Matins du Monde (All the Mornings of the World). But this is the only film I can recall about a piece of art, and the remarkable journey it takes, with many people through distant lands, over hundreds of years. With all of it fitting nicely into 2 hours of great cinema, drawn from a most exceptional story. Perhaps I should say stories - as there are many, and of course the stories are about people.

I don't think a great cast necessarily means famous names, lengthy reputations, or even a lot of acting experience - but one that simply works well. Meaning actors (or acting ability) that fit the characters, with a flow of believability or at least the right feel. Some of the best movies I've ever seen have had several cast members that were never heard of before or after being seen in the one film I saw them in. Here everyone fits. From the child prodigy in Vienna to the instrument expert in Montreal (Samuel Jackson) - this film is well cast. Shot on location in at least 4 different countries, this is storytelling at it's best. One of my favorite films, it is one of the truest examples of what good movie making is all about. It also happens to have an inanimate object (a violin) as one of the stars of the show.

Like so many of the rare occasions in your life when something happening seems like a dream come true, it would sound like a fairy tale if you told it. It's that way here. This is a real gem of a movie and a bit of a fairy tale, but it is one for grown ups . . . and a most delightful one at that.

http://fullgrownministry.wordpress.com/2013/05/11/destiny/
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4/10
A good concept gone wrong
lucifergary2 February 2000
I was really looking forward to seeing this film, but was sorely disappointed when I finally saw it. I found the writing horribly trite, especially in the segment of the movie set in England. The dialogue between Pope and his lover was laughable. In fact, my friend, an Englishwoman herself, did laugh. Samuel L. Jackson capped off a poor movie with a poor performance in the final segment of the film. Then again, maybe it wasn't his acting so much as poor writing. I simply didn't care about him or his scheme. The only redeeming aspect of the movie was the segment which centered around Kaspar Weiss. The writing was much better in that segment, partly because Kaspar rarely talked. In the whole film, Kaspar was the only character I cared about. If you're looking for a film that progresses through several separate stories, check out A Night on Earth.
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9/10
priced acquisition
aw-624 April 1999
Just saw this film at the local film festival and it lived up to the hype and more. The music was incredible and considering I gave up learning the violin after Grade 1, I've found new respect and love for the music they produce. Just felt swept away by the music from the child prodigy, the gypsies and the English virtuoso.

The story was reminiscent of The Yellow Rolls Royce with the main protagonist now being a violin. I thought it was obvious why and how the violin is red but the revealing scene still drew gasps from the audience. So is the violin cursed consequently or just an innocent instrument of fate.

Wonderful way of introducing each chapter via the Tarot Cards and ending each through a prospective bidder at the auction. Initially, I was discontented with Samuel Jackson's character and his eventual prized acquisition but I realised that this is not the end but in fact, another beginning. If the instrument had landed up with somebody of relevant ties, it would mean the story has come full circle and it's time to wrap up. This ending actually serves to continue the story - well done!
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Beautiful film
Gab178929 August 2000
I had never heard of this movie until I heard about it on the radio. I listen to classical music, and the staion was praising Joshua Bell (an ohio native) on his perfomance of the music. I was curious and saw it when it came on video. not only did i fall in love with the movie itself, but also the music. it was soothing, passionate, and brutal all at the same time. Many people I have talked to have said that Le Violon Rouge was just some crappy indie movie. However, the music is as beautiful as the plot. The storyline and the way it was presented in the form of different people who wanted the violin for different reasons was not so much genius, but different and fitting.
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9/10
Splendid
Stephen-1227 April 1999
This is art. Real art. So few films try for this much.

My sadness is that its appeal will be limited to polyglots, musicians, and lovers of costume drama. It's worth so much more than that. Beautifully shot, sensitively scripted and acted, and cleverly executed, this deserves more awards and greater coverage than it's going to get.

9 out of 10. I dock one point because Girard occasionally lets the pace drop to deadly, and because Jason Flemyng and Greta Scacchi irritated me beyond words - but that's not Girard's fault.
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10/10
Damn you fools with no eyes nor hearts!(Spoilers)
kg2238422 August 2000
Warning: Spoilers
People people people. Whew. Let's not be hasty, selfish or unreasonable. Sure this movie had it's flaws. The Locale's may have seemed just a teensy bit artificial(the most common critique), but downing the movie because Sam Jackson "stole" the violin, and on top of that attributing it to his color is downright UNCALLED FOR!

And further more, to say that "the times we live in" are the reason for us over looking the fact the violin was whisked away immorally is a clear fall back on cliche for a lack of intelligence. Because that's what this person is challenging. The morality of what Jackson did in the closing moments of the movie. If we were to really analyze the morality from each owner to the next, we would find that morality was not really the wave of fortune the violin was riding on(it was stolen from a grave for crying out loud, not to mention almost burned for simply being... a violin). If not liking it because of it's closing immorality is not missing the point and the essence and the true exsistence of this film, then I don't know what is.

This movie, as shockingly revealed as it was, was not about the life of this inanimate object. Surely the violin did not have a life. It was merely the carrier for the essence of the character of Anna Bussotti, Nicolo's wife. Because he used her to complete the instrument, it was endowed with her essence. That is where you are to find your morality in the tale. That life, our life, our essence, our being, is lived not only in our bodies, in these pathetic heaps of flesh and bone, but in everything around us. The morality is that Nicolo's love for his wife, made her immortal in the violin, and her song, was a gift passed down to each of the ones touched by the violin's life.

Therefore it is quite inconsequential, the morality of the people(and their actions) and events surrounding the violin, to say that it is the times we live in, or the race of the man stealing the violin, because the story encompasses a much higher enlightenment. Easily seen, too, if you don't analyze the mistemperments and shortcomings of the people surrounding the voilin to a point where they consume your vision, blocking the "true" lesson or moral, or whatever you want to call it. The lesson, or better put: the essence of "life".

Tres bien by Girard. An easy 10/10.
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3/10
predictable boring and pretentious
martin-21718 May 2000
Never in films like this is there any doubt exactly who will wind up dead, inconsolably miserable, and/or insane. Using inanimate objects to link otherwise unrelated scenarios can work (see e.g., the intriguing Finnish work, "Night on Earth") but in this movie it's just annoying. The RED violin is supposed to embody the continuity through time of human bleeding and suffering and striving and so forth, but the tool is so blunt it might as well just be a laughably "cursed" object as in the old tv series Friday the 13th. Although photographed well, the dialog and drama play out like cheap imitations of PBS made-for-tv historical drama.
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A bold attempt falls short
ejwestlake15 June 2004
I enjoyed the multiple storylines and the way the text interweaves them into the final suspenseful scene of the auction. Most of the film is beautiful and interesting, but it disintegrates when the American actors and English lines take center stage. The spoken text is awkward and stilted. As a result, Samuel L. Jackson is wooden and doesn't seem to have any reason for stealing the violin. He looks neither in love, nor obsessed with an object he supposedly pursued his whole career. At times he has sudden outburst as if the actor suddenly remembered he was supposed to be at the end of his wits. At other times you can almost hear him saying: "I can't believe I'm even saying these lines, somebody please rescue me from this film." I could have easily believed Jackson in this role, but the dialogue and his mistrust for it makes it impossible. Rent the video, and stop the film before he and his even more wooden co-star start saying things like (paraphrasing for effect): "You don't have children?" "No, but I know what you mean. I just want to take this violin apart." Or: "It's like it's this thing . . ." Also, equally unbelievable is when the violin maker rushes in to see the body of his dead wife, sending everyone, including the nurse holding the dead baby, out of the room. This man was making the perfect violin for this child he wanted so badly, but is completely uninterested in him when his body is presented to him.
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10/10
A true Diamond in the Rough!
xrayman429 November 2013
All I can say is WOW! This is truly a masterpiece of cinema. I watched this on a whim one evening and I am so thankful I did. The story is superb, the acting is excellent, and the music score was just "outstanding"! This is the kind of film that true hardcore movie buffs revel in finding while having to sift through the so many bad ones made over the years. But if your lucky enough to find it then you will find that it does not disappoint! If only they made more films like this one. If anything you might come out feeling a little more educated in the art of classical music.lol But seriously folks this is a must see film for anyone looking for a very entertaining movie of substance. It has it all,.. sadness, happiness, danger, love, anger,etc....! it is truly one of the best! If you haven't seen it then you are truly missing out.
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10/10
Mesmerizingly beautiful, incredible.
headhunter4612 January 2006
This movie is wonderfully executed. It would be a shame to know too much about this movie before watching it. Therefore I leave NO SPOILERS, they would only ruin the movie for you. I almost never feel a movie deserves a ten, but this is one of the few that do. The movie traverses several continents and spans almost four centuries. There are incredibly realistic settings and foreign languages that made me feel as though I were there. The sweeping cinematography and the music are absolutely amazing. The storyline is very moving and touches upon a host of emotions. A majority of the movie has foreign language, but you can activate the subtitles. I watched it first without the subtitles and was so taken by the movie, I watched it a second time with the titles and realized I had missed very little. The actions and facial expressions of the people do an excellent job of revealing their emotions. Trying to read the titles became distracting. I didn't need them so I turned them off. There were several instances where the hauntingly beautiful music gave me goosebumps. I certainly hope it touches you as deeply as it did me. As the movie progressed, I began to suspect the fortune teller was speaking not of the life of the expectant woman sitting before her, but of the violin. That point is not made clear until the final minutes of the movie. To tell you more would ruin the ending. When you learn how the violin acquired its captivating shade of red you will most likely be stunned at first, but then touched by the thought behind it and the bittersweetness of the moment. I am certain the violin masters' heart was breaking as he applied the colour.
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