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(Review originally written at 8 November 2009)

Quite simply, if it weren't for Al Pacino's performances I wouldn't had rated this movie as highly as I did.

It's never an ease thing to make a Shakespeare movie. Only the most experienced and brilliant directors and actors every so often dare to give a take on it. It often also just aren't the most profitable movies because they are obviously for a certain group of people, who know how to appreciate and the tragedy within the story. Al Pacino is an avid Shakespeare reader and obviously has also build up the reputation- and shown his class, for him to be considered an actor worthy of playing a Shakespeare role. My guess is that he also enjoyed every minute of it being in this movie and playing this character. He is also set to play in another Shakespeare adaptation, that is also better known by the general crowed; "King Lear". You can of course guess what role Pacino will play in it...The movie is also set to directed by Michael Radford, who also directed this movie. They must have mutually enjoyed their collaboration on this movie and with satisfied with each others work.

The story itself of this movie is of course just great. It's a real tragedy, that is also a great study of the human nature. A lot of different emotions and character motivations cross by in this movie. The movie and its story rely and are build upon its characters, who have all their human flaws and weaknesses, of which some of them will become fatal for them.

It's a beautiful looking with grand sets, that places the story in Venice of the 16th century. Most money of the movie seemed to be really spend on its sets and costumes, that capture both the rich and poor sides of life at that particular time period. Even though the movie wasn't among the most expensive to make, it still lost a lot of money and it's not hard to see why. Despite this being a great movie, it's also not one that should appeal to the mainstream audience. Shakespeare in general is hard to access for the average movie goer and the use of the old fashioned dialog in this movie make it even harder. It makes the movie hard to follow at times and ensures that you should pay constant attention to what is being said and done by the characters in the movie to fully understand it all.

Despite the presence of many other great actors in this movie such as Jeremy Irons and Jeremy Irons they are all being over-classed by Al Pacino's powerhouse performance. It's just simply one of the best performances out of his career. He did a fantastic job with his dialog and character. He gives Shylock depth and make him a tragic villainous character beyond believe.

A great story and movie made even better by Al Pacino's fantastic and totally devoted performance.

8/10

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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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