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The Violin (El Violin) Reviews

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Dennis Schwartz
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

An impressive debut for Mexican writer and director Francisco Vargas.

Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews | Original Score: B+

April 30, 2008
John Monaghan
Detroit Free Press
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The film from first-timer Francisco Vargas puts a human face on universal suffering. It is also about the power of music, as the title instrument saves (for a while anyway) three generations of peasant men in their roles as guerrilla fighters.

Full Review Source: Detroit Free Press | Original Score: 3/4

March 7, 2008
Tricia Olszewski
Let's Not Listen

You may not remember how exactly this trio passed the time during most of the film's too-spare 98 minutes, but Plutarco is a character you likely won't forget.

Full Review Source: Let's Not Listen

February 28, 2008
Chris Hewitt (St. Paul)
St. Paul Pioneer Press

The Violin is so beautiful to look at, it almost wouldn't matter if it had a story. But it has one, and it's riveting.

Full Review Source: St. Paul Pioneer Press | Original Score: 3/4

February 22, 2008
John Hartl
Seattle Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Life-or-death matters are handled with compelling gravity.

Full Review Source: Seattle Times | Original Score: 3.5/4

February 8, 2008
Sean Axmaker
Seattle Post-Intelligencer

It's all stripped down to a conflict more abstract than historical, a fable of heroic defiance in the face of brutal oppression.

Full Review Source: Seattle Post-Intelligencer | Original Score: B

February 8, 2008
Jeffrey M. Anderson
Combustible Celluloid

Francisco Vargas makes a marvellous debut with his magnificent The Violin.

Full Review Source: Combustible Celluloid | Original Score: 3.5/4

January 17, 2008
Glenn Whipp
Los Angeles Daily News

Of course, there's Tavira, who, even if he never appears in another film, has left an indelible mark on cinema with his work here.

Full Review Source: Los Angeles Daily News | Original Score: 3/4

January 4, 2008
Kenneth Turan
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A message this political has rarely been delivered in so poetic a form.

Full Review Source: Los Angeles Times | Original Score: 4/5

January 4, 2008
Derek Malcolm
This is London

The weathered Tavina, who lost his hand in an accident at the age of 13, makes a fittingly indomitable hero. He's a character you're likely to remember - his face alone is worth a thousand words.

Full Review Source: This is London | Original Score: 3/5

January 4, 2008
Tim Robey

Shot in luminous, high-contrast black and white, it has the rugged if faintly self-important authority of a Hemingway short story.

Full Review Source: Independent

January 4, 2008
Anthony Quinn

A terrific debut by Vargas, who wrote, directed and produced.

Full Review Source: Independent | Original Score: 4/5

January 4, 2008
Peter Bradshaw

Another sort of movie would find a feelgood way of resolving the story; Vargas's vision is more grim and more realistic, but it is persuasively real, and in Tavira the director has found a natural star of the screen.

Full Review Source: Guardian | Original Score: 3/5

January 4, 2008

Sun Online

The plot is slimmer than a bowed string and lacks tension.

Full Review Source: Sun Online | Original Score: 2/5

January 4, 2008

A quietly gripping adversarial duel lies at the heart of this political thriller, which has been hailed as a masterpiece in Vargas's native Mexico.

Full Review Source: Film4 | Original Score: 4/5

January 4, 2008
Tom Dawson
Total Film

The film's strongest asset is octogenarian newcomer Tavira, who exudes stoic dignity.

Full Review Source: Total Film | Original Score: 3/5

January 4, 2008
Anna Smith

A challenging yet rewarding watch.

Full Review Source: | Original Score: 4/5

January 4, 2008
Rob Daniel
Sky Movies

Told with ruthless efficiency and no sentiment or sermonizing, stands as a fitting tribute to the human spirit.

Full Review Source: Sky Movies | Original Score: 3/5

January 4, 2008
David Jenkins
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A slightly meandering build-up is saved by a second half that really cooks, with Vargas ratcheting up the tension by flirting with genre convention in order to deal with Plutarco's unconventional psychological stand-off with a malodorous Captain.

Full Review Source: Time Out | Original Score: 4/6

January 4, 2008
David Parkinson
Empire Magazine

The austere monochrome photography gives the story a gravitas that's reinforced by the dignity of the amateur cast.

Full Review Source: Empire Magazine | Original Score: 4/5

January 4, 2008
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