The Stone Merchant

"OK"

The Stone Merchant Review


Harvey Keitel and Jane March in a smoldering European romance? Sounds like a late-night version of The English Patient (even the title, The Stone Merchant, feels like it). And sure enough, there's a love triangle at the core of this bizarre art film, but that is far from the case. Believe it or not, you're about to see a movie about terrorism, specifically Islamic extremism.

Leda (March) is married to Alceo (Jordi Mollà), a professor who lost both legs in a terrorist bombing and is making up for it with plenty of bitterness and bile. When Leda is held at gunpoint at an airport (this family can't catch a break!), they jet off for -- where else -- Turkey, Here they encounter a stone merchant (Keitel), who hawks $30,000 rocks out of what looks a little like a roadside fruit stand. He chamrs Leda, and after she returns home to Italy, they continue an affair. Meanwhile, Alceo is soon convinced of his wife's infidelity, as well as something suspicious about the stone merchant.

It probably won't surprise you to learn that the stone merchant is an Islamic terrorist. We know this because he has to take a shower every time he bangs Alceo's wife, and someone has deleted all trace of him from the couple's videos from their trip. (At first I thought the static over Keitel's face was going to implicate him as the devil instead of just some random terrorist, but The Stone Merchant isn't half that clever.) The film culminates with the merchant and his crew pulling poor Leda into a terrorist plot, completely as expected.

Regardless of your feelings on Islam, The Stone Merchant is rough stuff. It's savage as it rips into the faith, with Alceo its seething mouthpiece. 9/11 footage is shown, repeatedly, with Alceo blaming Islam directly for the event (and countless others).

That aside, yow, this is a pretty badly made movie. Director Renzo Martinelli is a lover of the dutch angle, filming just about everything -- even pretty landscapes -- on the diagonal. Why? I have no idea, but it did succeed in making me nauseous. The dialogue is heavy-handed (the worst being from Alceo and his shadowy crew, a pair of people that show up whenever he's in trouble like some bad TV drama). The acting is fair enough. Keitel and F. Murray Abraham are decent on autopilot, but March is out of her depth and Mollà is largely reduced to a blubbering cliche.

Unless you've still got a lot of pent-up anger (and I mean a lot) over Osama bin Laden, give this one a pass.

Aka Il Mercante di peitre.



The Stone Merchant

Facts and Figures

Run time: 119 mins

In Theaters: Friday 15th September 2006

Distributed by: Monarch Home Video

Production compaines: Medusa Produzione

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2.5 / 5

IMDB: 4.4 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Renzo Martinelli

Producer: Renzo Martinelli

Starring: as The Merchant, as Leda, as Alceo, F. Murray Abraham as Shahid, Paco Reconti as Valerio, Bruno Bilotta as Libero, Lucilla Agosti as Lydia, Dhaffer L'Abidine as 1st Egyptian (as Dhaffer Labidine), Eddy Lemare as 2nd Egyptian, Federica Martinelli as Rita, Eleonora Martinelli as The Merchant Assistant, Riccardo Forte as Doc. Casellato, Alena Ivanov as Russian Woman, Maria Grazia Adamo as Female Student, Jonis Bashir as 1st Somali

Also starring:

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Jackie Movie Review

Jackie Movie Review

Rather than make a standard biopic about the most famous First Lady in American history,...

Split Movie Review

Split Movie Review

After a few badly received sci-fi blockbusters, M. Night Shyamalan returned to his earthier style...

xXx: Return of Xander Cage Movie Review

xXx: Return of Xander Cage Movie Review

It's been 15 years since Vin Diesel walked away from his XXX role, killing off...

Manchester by the Sea Movie Review

Manchester by the Sea Movie Review

This may not be the cheeriest movie of the season, but it's so skilfully written,...

Live By Night Movie Review

Live By Night Movie Review

Ben Affleck launched his directing career 10 years ago with his film of Dennis Lehane's...

La La Land Movie Review

La La Land Movie Review

After storming awards season with Whiplash two years ago, writer-director Damien Chazelle returns with something...

Assassin's Creed Movie Review

Assassin's Creed Movie Review

Hopes were high that this film might finally crack the curse of movies based on...

Advertisement
Silence Movie Review

Silence Movie Review

Faith is a topic Martin Scorsese can't quite shake, courting controversy with complex films like...

A Monster Calls Movie Review

A Monster Calls Movie Review

A difficult movie to market, this isn't actually the BFG-style fantasy adventure it looks like....

Monster Trucks Movie Review

Monster Trucks Movie Review

Word has it that a 4-year-old came up with the idea for this unapologetically silly...

Collateral Beauty Movie Review

Collateral Beauty Movie Review

Dramas exploring the nature of death and the true meaning of life are always in...

Paterson Movie Review

Paterson Movie Review

Unpredictable filmmaker Jim Jarmusch ricochets from his artful vampire movie Only Lovers Left Alive into...

I, Daniel Blake Movie Review

I, Daniel Blake Movie Review

At 80 years old, British filmmaker Ken Loach won his second Cannes Film Festival with...

Why Him? Movie Review

Why Him? Movie Review

Writer-director John Hamburg continues to recycle the formula that made his first hit Meet the...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.