The Red Violin (Le violon rouge) Reviews

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Super Reviewer
December 4, 2012
This is the story of a violin that starts in 1681 in Italy and ends in present-day New York.
It's hard to judge a film in which the main character is a violin. The characters who could give the film life are the people who own the violin at different places and historical moments, but their transience in the violin's "life" make it difficult to attach ourselves to their plights. And the fortune-teller reading the violin's future is clever for about ten seconds. Also, it's never fully revealed what Charles's motives are; is there any care that he could offer the violin that other suitors can't?
The score is quite good, and a project that spans five languages and four countries is admirably ambitious.
Overall, the main character being a violin didn't work for me, but I admire the effort.
Super Reviewer
January 30, 2012
This is a 2.5-hour episode of "Hoarders" where collectors of stuff turn into Gollum in the presence of this precious creation. I'm not judging - by the end of the movie, I too became Gollum. How many people alive today carry personal tales of the world's people, places and events of the past 300 years? How many other violins have been in a Ménage à trois? How many items born into this world came at such a high cost to its creators? Where's my 2 million dollars? I'm ready to do some antiquing!
Super Reviewer
September 18, 2010
Super Reviewer
November 11, 2008
An interesting movie that follows the life of a 17th century violin through its many owners across centuries and continents, all tied together by the words of a soothsayer.
Super Reviewer
November 14, 2006
Charles Morritz: What do you do when the thing you most wanted, so perfect, just comes?

A very good story that spans several centuries, telling the story of a number of characters in relation to a particular musical instrument, a red violin, an instrument constructed perfectly, but also cursed to bring some kind of harm to almost anyone who comes into contact with it.

As stated, the movie spans over 300 years. We see the violin's creation in the 1680s and where it ends up in the 1990s. Between this time we are given about five stories, each in a different time period. For example, one involves a skilled musician in Oxford, who becomes consumed by writing music with the violin, so much so, his life eventually deteriorates.

All of the stories are somewhat threaded together by the present day narrative, taking place at an auction house where it will be sold to a willing enough bidder. It is here that we see a role from Sam Jackson, which is always welcome.

As interesting and well handled as the story is, and as good looking as the film is, much of the joy comes from the score of the film, which won an Oscar. It is of course fully composed by violins, centering around a main theme that plays in each story.

At over two hours, there is certainly a lot of movie here, with a somewhat slow progression, but even then, the story, which moves around in terms of its time, works well enough at revealing various elements and does so in a fairly clever manner.

Charles Morritz: Yes, I'm coming back soon, and I have a present for you. Something very special.
Super Reviewer
½ July 10, 2007
A musical Babel. The Red Violin is perhaps most notable for its amazing soundtrack, for which it picked up an Oscar. Some of the pieces will be with you for a very long time after watching this film. In fact, The Red Violin is a sumptuous feast for the senses - aural, visual and emotional. The movie is a dizzying cocktail of grace and beauty. Each scene is toned perfectly.

Though The Red Violin does a great job connecting the many cultures featured in this film (better than Babel, even), there are some aspects of the writing that don't sit particularly well. Something about the plot seems very...pat. None of the characters are very involving, and there's little sense of loss throughout the course of the movie. Though a lot of tragedy befalls the handful of protagonists we see, none of it is very effective. Perhaps it's because we don't spend much time with them, but I think The Red Violin is afraid to add edge to the cruelties of life. It is entertaining, harmless, but not involving. The ending is also a total stinker; frustrating for all the wrong reasons and totally out of left field.

If the plot had a little more potency, The Red Violin would be a memorable and epic experience. In its current state, it is an interesting glimpse into several different cultures, juxtaposed with some truly incredible music. Though a good movie in its own right, I can't help but feel that it didn't meet the standards it set for itself.
Super Reviewer
January 14, 2007
But very slow-going
Super Reviewer
June 25, 2013
The beauty of The Red Violin is that it touches so many different phenomenons through the ages. Roger Ebert put it best when saying: "Not many films can encompass a British aristocrat who likes to play the violin while he is having sex and a Chinese woman who risks her life to protect a violin from the martinets of the Cultural Revolution". This violin went through out the film from 1681-1997 and from Vienna to China. It does show the life of an antique. While the multi-story system made it difficult to connect and care for any characters, it allowed the violin to shine through. The music of this was amazing and deserved its Oscar. Technicality wise it's phenomenal, the film was hard to follow personally though.
Super Reviewer
May 8, 2012
'The Red Violin (Le violon rouge)' (1998) features such dramatic undertones from all different geographical places in time. The film has such a luxuriously vibe that it can be
very connecting.
Super Reviewer
May 25, 2008
I think this film is WAY too contrived and overly sentimental.
Super Reviewer
½ December 20, 2006
The sound of music has awaken my ears again!
Super Reviewer
April 23, 2006
Beautiful and moving. If your heart doesn't break because of the haunting music, you'll at least be intrigued by the lovely intertwined storylines. Awesome.
June 30, 2013
I thought that about the first half of this movie was passable, followed by terrible middle section and an end that did not quite redeem itself, but still brought some of the joy back to the viewer. The most wonderful part of the film, of course, is hearing the many amazing virtuoso players taking their turn upon the red violin. Here to naked, pasty skinned redheaded males with mullets and bad sideburns.
March 5, 2009
Started off boring, but got better with time. Pope's story was the most interesting to me, but the Chinese episode was also well-done.
November 26, 2011
This was one of my favorite all time movies. Loved that the story takes place over generations. Period sets and costumes were excellent.
July 15, 2011
Epic narrative that spans over three centuries and as many continents, The Red Violin is worth experiencing for so many reasons: first of all it's stirring Oscar-winning soundtrack, but also for the rich palette and fluid cadence of its cinematography,
June 13, 2011
Beautiful film. Fascinating, winding storyline. Though the reveal was anticlimactic, there was still a little goodie at the end. Very enjoyable.
February 11, 2009
Lengthy, but not tedious - very romantic, very surprising and heart-pulling ending with a deep sense of awe. You haven't lived life until you've seen it.
½ December 7, 2008
This film has a story hook that follows along the lines of one of those "follow the history" of a dollar/coin/ object that is continuingly passed from one person to another, each involving it's own unique plotline, & each centered upon the object of focus in some angulated manner. It's a technique that I've always had a liking for, & probably b'cuz , I've been lucky enough in that almost all of the ones that I have seen use this storytelling technique have been pretty well above average. All the stories are of a high quality & solidly crafted in it's linear structure.
And even though, Jackson is probably the most famous of the ensemble cast, he is still but one in an ensemble cast that, no matter which character role any of theses actors have in The Red Violin,
the movie is strong enough for any of 'em to be proud to have this work included in their filmography.
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