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The Red Violin

movie reviewmovie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: The Red Violin

Starring: Samuel L. Jackson, Greta Scacchi
Director: Fracois Girard
Rated: NR
RunTime: 128 Minutes
Release Date: June 1999
Genres: Drama, Foreign, Music

*Also starring: Carlo Cecchi, Jean-Luc Bideau, Sylvia Chang, Colm Feore, Jason Flemyng, Irene Grazioli, Christoph Koncz

Review by Akiva Gottlieb
2½ stars out of 4

In Francois Girard's "Red Violin", the title object changes hands many times over the course of two centuries, but it is never made clear to whom, how and why this happens. The journey takes us from a modern Canadian setting where the flawless violin is being auctioned, to Vienna, China, Oxford and Italy before returning to the auction. This foreign-language ensemble piece has some noteworthy moments in each of its segments but on the whole it's a mess. As I already mentioned, not much is made clear, so the segments don't have a connection. It seems to be a different violin in each part. The standout in a fine cast is Samuel L. Jackson, taking a different path this time around as a Canadian violin expert. Don't worry, fans; Jackson shows off his trademark tenacity yelling at a hotel manager. Director Francois Girard and writer/actor Don McKellar, who combined their talents on "Thirty-Two Short Films About Glenn Gould", have crafted a film that is interesting at times, and dull at times. The main flaw of "The Red Violin" is that it doesn't use its title object to connect the stories. I recommend this film to fans of classical music; all others steer clear.

Copyright 1998 Akiva Gottlieb

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