In 16th century Venice, when a merchant must default on a large loan from an abused Jewish moneylender for a friend with romantic ambitions, the bitterly vengeful creditor demands a gruesome payment instead.
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Radford's take on the controversial Shakespeare play adds absolute nothing new despite the high profile casting of Pacino as Shylock. The production values are good, the acting adequate but the film never seems to shine the way it should. The problematic undertones of the play overcome any attention one could focus on.
A problematic undertaking to begin with (there's a reason that this film, made in 2004, is the first film adaption of this particular play). No matter how much well-minded individuals might defend it, 'Merchant of Venice' has its obvious issues (no matter how you cut it, the claims of anti-semitism have merit). However, Radford does his best to smooth over the rougher edges, and Pacino is dynamite as Shylock.