Merchant of Venice (2004)

Reid, 13. December 2007, 13:19

Dir. Michael Radford
Starring: Al Pacino (Shylock); Jeremy Irons (Antonio); Joseph Fiennes (Bassanio), Lynn Collins (Portia)

I think this was a solid adaptation, although my own personal enjoyment was probably around a 6. As a film by itself, I don’t know I’d probably give it a 6. The play in general is not something I’d strongly recommend to a lot of people. However, there is some interesting layers in the film. Specifically, while the film is considered a comedy, the filmmakers add some dark elements make determing the tone of the film difficult. Shylock is supposed to be the villian, but we can’t help but sympathize with him–particularly in that great crie de coeur about revenge and oppression against Jews.

The other interesting twist (well, I don’t know if it’s a twist or the standard interpretation) is portraying Antonio as a homosexual in love with Bassanio. This slant explains his melancholy in the opening scene, which I never really got from just reading the play.

Finally, I thought the end with Jessica looking longingly/guitily? at the lake and her father’s ring was an interesting twist. I’m not sure what my take is on that. Perhaps, it’s to show that we should be more sympathetic to Shylock.

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