William Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice
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William Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice
One of William Shakespeare's most powerful comedies has been given a bold cinematic adaptation in this film version of The Merchant of Venice. Bassanio (Joseph Fiennes) is a young and vital member of the aristocratic classes in 16th century Italy; however, Bassanio's impulsive nature and lavish lifestyle have put him deeply in debt, and he will need at least the pretense of a fortune if he is to win the hand of the beautiful Portia (Lynn Collins). Bassanio turns to his close friend Antonio (Jeremy Irons), a successful businessman, for financial help, but with much of his fortune tied… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 72%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"Pacino is at least dynamic, something harder to say about the women in the cast."
‑ David Rooney, Variety
"Radford has rendered off the comedy to find the dramatic skeleton underneath. It is an approach that works stunningly well and is perhaps the only way the play can now be done."
‑ Richard Nilsen, Arizona Republic
"Pacino seeks his pound of flesh as a tragic outsider."
‑ Don Groves, sbs.com.au
"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."
‑ Julian Wood, FILMINK (Australia)
"It's the perfect cinematic vehicle -- or at least it would have been, if Radford's adaptation weren't so unremittingly cloddish."
‑ Jamie Russell, Film4
"This is Al Pacino's show, and thankfully his Shylock is absorbing enough to carry the day."
‑ Wally Hammond, Time Out
"A vivid, engrossing and defensible Shakespeare adaptation, a period piece that truly has a feel for a time long past -- and a place and attitude that are not."
‑ Roger Moore, Orlando Sentinel
"The text is wonderful, Radford's film has some fine performances from Jeremy Irons and Joseph Fiennes, and he makes good use of Venice locations."
‑ David Stratton, At the Movies (Australia)
"A richly cinematic and robust rendition of Shakespeare's pre-political correctness play about the place of Jews in anti-Semitic 16th century Venice, Michael Radford's film takes delight in dramatics thus pulling us into the story."
‑ Andrew L. Urban, Urban Cinefile
"Pacino shapes the role masterfully. He not only rises to the role's extremes of villainous melodrama, he fills them, rendering them both theatrical and believable"
‑ Ron Reed, Christianity Today
"It tilts so far in one direction that the comic elements seem to come from another, lesser film."
‑ Keith Phipps, AV Club
"Pacino's stentorian delivery and punctuating hands are almost parodistic, as likely to draw a chuckle as to elicit empathy."
‑ Lawrence B. Johnson, Detroit News
"It is really a pleasure to watch a masterful actor like Al Pacino wring every nuance out of the multifarious character of Shylock."
‑ Jordan Hiller, Bangitout.com
"It has taken 5 years for Michael Radford's splendid interpretation of Shakespeare's play to come to Australia and it is worth the wait."
‑ Louise Keller, Urban Cinefile
"It veers from real conviction to panto, but Radford is clearly committed to the play's relevance, while Pacino, the Shakespeare addict, is a joy to watch."
‑ Ian Nathan, Empire Magazine
More reviews for William Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice on Rotten Tomatoes