Critic Reviews



Based on 35 critic reviews provided by
The Hollywood Reporter
Pacino gives a keenly measured performance, leading an excellent British cast through their paces in a richly colorful production that should please selective audiences and adds to the list of major film adaptations of Shakespeare's work.
What Radford above all accomplishes in his filming of The Merchant of Venice is to suggest that, in essence, it is that most modern of entertainments: a dark - indeed, very dark - comedy.
Given the story's focus on religion and the intolerance that still rages in today's world, The Merchant of Venice remains deeply meaningful.
Despite a series of disclaimers about the treatment of Jews in the 16th century, there's even less disguising onscreen than onstage that this is an uncomfortably anti-Semitic play and somewhat problematic for contempo audiences.
Btter-than-average screen Shakespeare: intelligent without being showily clever, and motivated more by genuine fascination with the play's language and ideas than by a desire to cannibalize its author's cultural prestige.
Intriguing but ultimately unfulfilling.
The A.V. Club
When the halves of the film collide in the courtroom climax, it looks like a misbegotten pilot for Law & Order: Usury Victims Unit.
Village Voice
Pacino simply wipes the cobblestones with the rest of the cast: His beautifully calibrated performance is lucid, commanding, and genuinely tragic.
There are too many rancors--hatred of life, hatred of others, hatred of their means to happiness--to contend with here, and the loveliness of the verse beats fruitlessly against them, as if against a wharf.
Film Threat
The single worst Shakespeare film ever made.

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