The Merchant of Venice
Drama | English | 131 minutes
In 16th-century Venice, Bassanio, a young Venetian, is planning to travel to Belmont to woo the beautiful and wealthy Portia. Bassanio approaches his friend Antonio for a loan to pay for his trip. Antonio’s cargo ships are at sea so he lacks the funds. To help Bassanio, Antonio decides to borrow the money from Shylock, a local money-lender. Because Antonio spat on and insulted Shylock a few days earlier, a revengeful Shylock stipulates if the loan is not repaid by a certain date, Shylock will receive a pound of Antonio’s flesh. All of Antonio’s ships are lost at sea and he cannot repay Shylock by the due date. An outraged Portia, now Antonio’s wife, petitions the court to nullify the contract since she is offering to settle the loan. Will Shylock render mercy and accept Portia’s offer or will he extract from Antonio what he feels he’s owed: a pound of Antonio’s flesh.
Why Stream This Film?
- Rotten Tomatoes Score (Critics Consensus): 71%
- Metacritic Score: 63
- London Critics Circle Film Awards: Nominated, Best Adapted Screenplay (Michael Radford)
- BAFTA Awards: Nominated, Best Costume Design (Sammy Sheldon)
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THE MERCHANT of VENICE is an exceptional example of Shakespeare on film. It combines a strict fidelity to the play’s mood and setting with some bold, interpretive decisions that enrich the story. All movies, in a sense, try to offer audiences a whole other world, but this one does it with thoroughness and generosity.
THE MERCHANT of VENICE is intelligent without being showily clever and motivated more by genuine fascination with the play’s language and ideas. Watching the film is like seeing a gallery of Renaissance paintings come to life.
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