William Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

William Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice Reviews

Top Critic
David Rooney
Variety
July 4, 2008
Pacino is at least dynamic, something harder to say about the women in the cast.
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Wally Hammond
Time Out
June 24, 2006
This is Al Pacino's show, and thankfully his Shylock is absorbing enough to carry the day.
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Keith Phipps
AV Club
September 26, 2005
It tilts so far in one direction that the comic elements seem to come from another, lesser film.
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Richard Nilsen
Arizona Republic
March 10, 2005
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.
Full Review | Original Score: 4.5/5
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Roger Moore
Orlando Sentinel
February 25, 2005
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.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
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Lawrence B. Johnson
Detroit News
February 18, 2005
Pacino's stentorian delivery and punctuating hands are almost parodistic, as likely to draw a chuckle as to elicit empathy.
| Original Score: C+
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Terry Lawson
Detroit Free Press
February 18, 2005
Radford remains fairly reverent toward the text and the intent.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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St. Louis Post-Dispatch
February 11, 2005
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Eric Harrison
Houston Chronicle
February 4, 2005
Ranks as one of the most powerful recent adaptations of the bard's work.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
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Robert Denerstein
Denver Rocky Mountain News
February 4, 2005
Radford makes the most of Venice's dark, entangling corners, and Merchant certainly has its better moments, even if its melange of acting styles and directorial intentions don't quite build into a totally successful production.
| Original Score: B
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Lisa Kennedy
Denver Post
February 4, 2005
Balanced, beguiling -- even funny.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Jeff Strickler
Minneapolis Star Tribune
February 3, 2005
The give-and-take between the two veterans [Pacino and Irons] is a delight to witness.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Philip Kennicott
Washington Post
January 28, 2005
For lovers of the play's language ... the losses will hurt. But as cinematic storytelling, it works.
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Connie Ogle
Miami Herald
January 28, 2005
Perplexing blend of comedy and tragedy.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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Desson Thomson
Washington Post
January 27, 2005
[Al Pacino's] terrific to watch and listen to; you can't take your eyes off him.
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Chris Vognar
Dallas Morning News
January 27, 2005
The Merchant of Venice is a problematic play, but Michael Radford's new movie version passes most of the cinematic Shakespeare tests with flying colors.
Full Review | Original Score: B+
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Carrie Rickey
Philadelphia Inquirer
January 27, 2005
In what is, unbelievably, the first English-language film of Merchant since the silent era, Collins and Pacino plumb the depths of acting, of Shakespeare, of the difference between law and justice.
| Original Score: 3.5/4
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Moira MacDonald
Seattle Times
January 21, 2005
Beauty and ugliness mingle in this play, with the beauty of language ultimately triumphing.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Peter Howell
Toronto Star
January 21, 2005
Were it not for the stain of anti-Semitism that forever marks Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice, there is little doubt that Michael Radford's brave screen adaptation would currently be in serious contention for awards.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Kevin Thomas
Los Angeles Times
January 21, 2005
Splendid film.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
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Rick Groen
Globe and Mail
January 21, 2005
A lean, stripped-down and unapologetically cinematic take on Shakespeare's work, an adaptation designed at each turn to diminish the mechanics of the comedy and to explore the depths of the pathos.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
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Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
January 21, 2005
Shylock is an intense, passionate character in a great play, and Radford's film does them justice.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Sid Smith
Chicago Tribune
January 20, 2005
An important, timeless and sometimes troublesome classic has been filmed successfully and at long last.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Anthony Lane
New Yorker
January 15, 2005
To quote the touching words of one correspondent, posted during an online discussion of this movie, 'I didn't like the story.' Not much to be done about that.
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Mick LaSalle
San Francisco Chronicle
January 14, 2005
An exceptional example of Shakespeare on film, one that will leave audiences moved but also unsettled, in that strange way characteristic of Shakespeare's comedies.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
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Ty Burr
Boston Globe
January 14, 2005
Pacino takes Shylock, perhaps the most insistent and troubling character in all of Shakespeare, and roots him powerfully to the ground.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
January 13, 2005
Radford doesn't solve the problems of The Merchant of Venice, which nowadays is too disturbing to be played for comedy and too unresolved to qualify as tragedy or even that ever-shifting hybrid, tragicomedy.
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Rex Reed
New York Observer
January 13, 2005
Promises more than it delivers.
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Peter Travers
Rolling Stone
January 6, 2005
The film itself occasionally plods, but Pacino, tackling a tough trap of a role, raises the bar in a mesmerizing acting triumph.
| Original Score: 3/4
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Owen Gleiberman
Entertainment Weekly
January 5, 2005
Despite some clunky exposition and rote iambic line readings, it attains a bona fide Shakespearean vibrance.
Full Review | Original Score: B+
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Ernest Hardy
L.A. Weekly
December 30, 2004
It all collapses under an atrocious performance by Pacino.
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Claudia Puig
USA Today
December 29, 2004
Worth seeing for its lovely Venetian settings and evocative score but most of all for Pacino's spectacular rendering of Shylock.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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James Berardinelli
ReelViews
December 29, 2004
Intriguing but ultimately unfulfilling.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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John Anderson
Newsday
December 29, 2004
Shylock, Portia, money-lending and betrayal get a little too much help from director Michael Radford.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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Stephen Whitty
Newark Star-Ledger
December 29, 2004
Left us all weary, begging for a rest.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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A.O. Scott
New York Times
December 29, 2004
Shakespeare's most problematic play at least with respect to modern sensitivities receives an intelligent interpretation from Michael Radford and a superb cast.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
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Lou Lumenick
New York Post
December 29, 2004
An uneasy blend of tragedy, comedy and anti-Semitism.
| Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic
Jami Bernard
New York Daily News
December 29, 2004
A queasy comedy in which Pacino burns a hole in the screen while the frivolity around him sputters.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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Jessica Winter
Village Voice
December 28, 2004
Even notwithstanding this version's inert blocking and awkward camera placements, The Merchant of Venice is one of Shakespeare's more crooked and hollow contraptions in any guise.
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Richard Roeper
Ebert & Roeper
December 27, 2004
This is one of the best adaptations of Shakespeare I've ever seen. Pacino's amazing.
Top Critic
Ray Bennett
Hollywood Reporter
September 18, 2004
Pacino gives a keenly measured performance, leading an excellent British cast through their paces in a richly colorful production.