Learn more Shop now Learn more Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Learn More Shop now Shop now Learn more Shop Fire Shop Kindle Learn More Shop now Fitbit
Customer Review

50 of 67 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars How not to bring Shakespeare to the cinema, 15 Jun. 2005
By A Customer
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Merchant of Venice [DVD] [2004] (DVD)
A deeply disappointing effort. Shakespeare's humane and magnificent drama is reduced to a dull and sordid costume show. Its wit is extinguished and its poetry muffled. The actors do not speak the lines - they simply mumble the words. Every character is impoverished: Portia is robbed of her intelligence; Bassanio of his chivalry; and Shylock of his miserliness and malice. Pacino is watchable as Shylock, but the only authentic Shakespearian performance is by David Harewood as the Prince of Morocco.
And the film simply misses the point of Shylock's tragedy. Of course we disapprove of the anti-semitism of the film's Venetians - but they are just a bunch of lager-louts. The anti-semitism of Shakespeare's refined and civilised courtiers, who do not appear in this film, is far more alarming. Of course we feel compassion for Pacino's Shylock - who would not feel compassion for a respectable man labouring under oppression? But our compassion is stretched further and our humanity more deeply engaged when we find ourselves feeling compassion for Shakespeare's malicious miser, who has been airbrushed from this production.
What is the point of trying to bring Shakespeare to a wider audience if you don't trust him to hold the audience's attention by the power of his poetry, if you reduce his complex characters to two-dimensional cardboard cut-outs, and you don't trust the audience to listen to what he has to say?
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No

[Add comment]
Post a comment
To insert a product link use the format: [[ASIN:ASIN product-title]] (What's this?)
Amazon will display this name with all your submissions, including reviews and discussion posts. (Learn more)
Name:
Badge:
This badge will be assigned to you and will appear along with your name.
There was an error. Please try again.
Please see the full guidelines here.

Official Comment

As a representative of this product you can post one Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
The following name and badge will be shown with this comment:
 (edit name)
After clicking on the Post button you will be asked to create your public name, which will be shown with all your contributions.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.  Learn more
Otherwise, you can still post a regular comment on this review.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
 
System timed out

We were unable to verify whether you represent the product. Please try again later, or retry now. Otherwise you can post a regular comment.

Since you previously posted an Official Comment, this comment will appear in the comment section below. You also have the option to edit your Official Comment.   Learn more
The maximum number of Official Comments have been posted. This comment will appear in the comment section below.   Learn more
Prompts for sign-in
  [Cancel]

Comments

Track comments by e-mail

Sort: Oldest first | Newest first
Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 27 Jan 2016, 08:31:37 GMT
Lazy Kipper says:
Thank you for this review. I, too, am always upset by the "dumbing down" of Shakespeare. The text is so rich and informative as it stands, that cutting parts out (which is occasionally done to keep film versions to "manageable" length) has to be very carefully undertaken, and rarely improves the plays - just shortens them.

Personally I feel that there is never a wasted word in Shakespeare, and that if people attend properly they will see the implications and nuances that exist in the text and that are there for a reason.

Thank you for the warning. I won't bother with this version.
‹ Previous 1 Next ›