The Merchant Of Venice


English GCSE students can breath a collective sigh of relief that rather than reading one of Shakespeare's most complex plays they can simply bung on a DVD. But director Michael Radford's adaptation will do little to endear the Bard to the X-Box generation. Whereas Al Pacino's Looking For Richard was fuelled by its star-director's passionate belief in the enduring power of Big Willie's writing, this ploddingly literal, stage-bound version is slumber inducing. It may have a cast of recognisable faces but the supporting players can't match Pacino's sly Shylock or Jeremy Irons's oddly chilly yet affecting Antonio. The only rousing moments are the obvious stand-out scenes: Shylock raging against the unjust treatment of the Jews and later claiming his pound of flesh. Otherwise, this interminable picture is dreary and bloodless.

Film Details

  • PG
  • UK Theatrical Release Date: May 1st 2005

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