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Wild Target Review


Weak
This lively British remake of the 1993 French film is an enjoyable if ultimately too-silly romp. But the solid cast at least makes it watchable, even when the plot takes a series of deeply contrived turns.

Victor (Nighy) is an efficient hitman who lives a quiet life that's more than a little obsessive-compulsive. He's been in the business since he was a child, inheriting the job from his late father, and now his mother (Atkins) is pushing him to have a son of his own. His next job is for an art dealer (Everett) who has been double-crossed by con artist Rose (Blunt), but Victor is taken by her breezily shameless methods. He's also interrupted by Tony (Grint), a rootless young guy who shows some skill with a gun.

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The Merchant Of Venice Review


Weak

In his bold, brusque re-imagining of William Shakespeare's "The Merchant of Venice," screenwriter and director Michael Radford ("1984," "Il Postino") has successfully solved one of the play's two inherent impediments -- its insensitive, arguably anti-Semitic caricature of the greedy, vengeful Jewish creditor Shylock, who demands a literal pound of flesh as payment for a defaulted loan.

Applying audacious creative license, Radford has reinvented the character as a tragic and more central figure -- played by no less than Al Pacino -- whose villainy is motivated by a sense of indignation for his treatment at the hands of bigoted gentiles. This "Merchant" is no longer a farce, but a drama thick with implications about the dangers of religious power in society.

Unfortunately, Radford's creativity with the Bard's narrative doesn't extend to renovating the film's weightless, transparently contrived primary plot about Bassanio (Joseph Fiennes), a young man who wishes to woo beautiful heiress Portia (uncommonly lovely Lynn Collins), but fears he hasn't the wealth to make the proper impression. These romantic aspirations lead his merchant-shipper best friend Antonio (Jeremy Irons) to securing the sinister, high-risk loan from Shylock on Bassanio's behalf.

Continue reading: The Merchant Of Venice Review

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