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The Merchant of Venice

✭ ✭ ✭ ✭

United Kingdom, Sweden · 2001
2h 21m
Director Trevor Nunn, Chris Hunt
Starring Henry Goodman, David Bamber, Peter de Jersey, Derbhle Crotty
Genre Drama

Memorably set between the two world wars, this adaptation of Trevor Nunn's award-winning 1999 Royal National Theatre production of The Merchant of Venice features a superlative performance from Henry Goodman as Shylock.

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Megan Rochlin Profile picture for Megan Rochlin

I imagine it must be really difficult to stage Merchant of Venice respectfully. If it is a comedy, then it is a deeply problematic and anti Semitic one. If it is a tragedy, then it is a strange one. Director's Chris Hunt and Trevor Nunn do an excellent job of staging Merchant of Venice so that the comedic story line is preserved without lessening the impact of Shylock's tragedy. I think the decision to set this production in pre-war Germany was really smart. In every scene WWII seems to be lurking just around the corner, and it looms over the film. Goodman delivers an astounding performance as Sylock, and the other actors, although not terribly memorable, do a commendable job with their parts. Overall one of the best - and most introspective - adaptations of Merchant there is.

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