Movies From the Hat V #41 – Becky’s Pick – The Merchant of Venice (2004)

This is my 2990th Review

Thanks to Becky of Film Music Central for this recommendation.


“He hath disgraced me, and hindered me half a million, laughed at my losses, mocked at my gains, scorned my nation, thwarted my bargains, cooled my friends, heated mine enemies; and what’s his reason? I am a Jew.”  Shylock

Number of Times Seen – 1 (26 Mar 2017)

Brief Synopsis – A young man wishing to marry a wealthy young lady convinces his friend a merchant with funds to be his guarantor for a loan from a Jewish moneylender.

My Take on it – This play by William Shakespeare is one of his most well known and it’s a bit surprising that a film adaptation of it hadn’t been done beforehand.

Director Michael Radford does an amazing job getting us to understand the background of the time and place and of the main individuals involved in the storyline.

The production design is created quite well that it definitely makes us believe that we have been transported back in time to Venice of old.

Al Pacino and Jeremy Irons are both very convincing as Shylock and Antonio.

Lynn Collins is great as Portia, but it still makes me laugh thinking that it was so easy for women of those days to masquerade as a man (including fake facial hair).

The dialogue is superbly written  by Shakespeare and gives us so much enjoyment to listen to it because it is such a poignant themed story that still resonates today.

I still can’t decide whether I think that this story is truly anti-Semitic or not because the way that Shylock (the Jew) is depicted feels like it straddles the middle line on that issue not wishing to make a statement either way.

Bottom Line – Pacino and Irons are great here in two of the lead roles.  We get a clear picture of what is happening thanks to the great direction by Radford. The dialogue by Shakespeare himself is so enjoyable to listen to because it is so poignant.  Can’t say I was thrilled by the way Shylock (a Jew) is presented in the story and I’m still trying to decide whether I think it’s anti-Semitic or not.  The production design is done extremely well and we really feel as if we have been transported back in time. Recommended!

MovieRob’s Favorite Trivia – The original play script opens with Antonio, Salarino, and Salanio on a Venice street. It does not open with the scene show at the beginning of the movie where the Jews are being persecuted, and Antonio spits on Shylock.  (From IMDB)

Rating –  Globe Worthy


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One thought on “Movies From the Hat V #41 – Becky’s Pick – The Merchant of Venice (2004)

  1. Pingback: Temporal Top Ten – 2004 |

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