The Merchant Of Venice

  • Year:2009
  • Rating:M
  • Director:Michael Radford
  • Cast:Joseph Fiennes, Jeremy Irons, Al Pacino
  • Release Date:June 11, 2009
  • Distributor:Arkles
  • Running time:90 minutes
  • Film Worth:$13.00
  • FILMINK rates movies out of $20 - the score indicates the amount we believe a ticket to the movie to be worth

“…a cracking production…”

e16328476c371a562f72.jpg

Anyone who saw Al Pacino in his self-financed and directed docudrama Looking For Richard will know what a Shakespeare nut this iconic American actor is. In that film, he comes across as being nearly as mad as the infamous king that he portrays. English director Michael Radford (Il Postino, White Mischief), however, has gotten a very different performance from the great actor here.

This 2004 adaptation has taken a while to hit our screens. Perhaps it is because the female lead, Lynn Collins (as Portia), is poised to step into the big time with X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Perhaps it's the material itself. The Merchant Of Venice is really one of Shakespeare's problem plays: it's very dark, and no one comes out of it well.

Jewish money lender Shylock is by far the most interesting character in the play, and he is bitter and twisted and finally humiliated. Pacino manages to lose his New York twang and gangsterish truculence, inhabiting the role in his own riveting way. We see what an actor's actor Pacino can be: he's careful and watchful; respectful of other actors' timing; and says his lines perfectly, resisting all temptation to grandstand. Jeremy Irons (an actor some find wooden) is a good strong foil as Antonio, and the scenes between the two really sizzle.

Director Radford has also done well with the feel and locations. He uses Venice so well, rarely choosing to "open it out", but rather films the set pieces in shadowy vaulted chambers as cold and stony as the dialogue.

This is a cracking production and, despite being in the original dialogue, it is neatly trimmed to a satisfying 90 minutes of intense drama.

follow us on twitter
like us on facebook

latest categories

DVD

latest issue

Filmink latest issue

latest news

Spotlight On Iran
Spotlight On Iran

Festival director Anne Demy-Garoe discusses the return of the Iranian Film Festival Australia (IFFA) in light of recent reforms and its emotionally explosive opening film, ‘I’m Not Angry’.

Watch Park-Chan Wook’s Fashion Thriller!
Watch Park-Chan Wook’s Fashion Thriller!

Get your week's dose of style here!

Seen & Heard
Seen & Heard

The Other Film Festival is returning with a fistful of eye-opening and provocative films that drag marginalised stories, issues and characters deservedly into the spotlight.

Cate Blanchett & Robert Redford Shoot ‘Truth’ In Sydney
Cate Blanchett & Robert Redford Shoot ‘Truth’ In Sydney

NSW has netted another classy production.