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The Red Violin (DVD) Review
Winner of the Academy Award for Best Music, Original Score (John Corigliano), The Red Violin should've at the very least received a Best Picture nomination. Overlooked by the arbiters of most of the major awards ceremonies, The Red Violin nonetheless enjoyed widespread critical acclaim. And every bit of its praise is well-deserved. Because The Red Violin belongs on a list of the best films of its decade.
Charles Morritz (Samuel Jackson) is called on by a Montreal auction house to assess the value of a recently procured violin. His initial reaction is that the violin is the long-lost, world famous Nicolo Bussotti "Red Violin". In verifying its authenticity, the film flashes back to the birth of the violin.
When famous Italian violin maker Nicolo Bussotti (Carlo Cecchi) witnesses the tragic death of his pregnant wife and true love, he designs the perfect violin as a testament to her memory. Originally intended for his son, the violin makes it way across the continent of Europe, first appearing in an orphanage where child prodigy Kaspar Weiss (Christoph Koncz) comes in possession of it. Ushered off to Vienna and poised on the precipice of worldwide fame, Weiss suffers a heart attack, and the violin is buried with him. However, when his grave is looted, gypsies give a home to the violin for some time before it is purchased by the mad genius Frederick Pope (Jason Flemyng). When Pope injures the heart of his longtime lover Victoria (Greta Scacchi), the violin is damaged by a bullet.
A servant of Pope's eventually takes the violin to the Asian Continent where it is used first as a teacher's aide, then hidden during the Communist revolution which fears the evils of 'Western music'. When the Shanghai violin collector in possession of the red violin passes away, the Chinese government places his multi-million dollar collection on the auction block. Finding the red violin in its midst, two experts work to verify its authenticity, and when they do a fierce bidding war takes place to see who will get the prized possession. But an article of such great value can only be held by someone who truly appreciates its beauty.
With outstanding performances from an unprecedented number of actors and actresses, The Red Violin is a production of genius on par with the perfection of its lead character - the hand-crafted red violin. Samuel L. Jackson is the only star of the film who's of Hollywood blockbuster caliber, and he shines brightly in his role - using his penetrating eyes to convey a sort of mystic power upon the object of his desire. Coupled with an original storyline, having all the more of an impact due its suspenseful chronology, The Red Violin is an unforgettable film of passion and adventure.
Boasting a well-written screenplay, and direction that displays all the symbolism and emotion expected from a classic novel, The Red Violin is a film that strives to touch the polarities of the human soul. With an emotional passion that emanates from the screen, the film forces us to contemplate the wonder of human existence and what exactly will be our individual place in its history. A modern day epic regarding the travels of a beautiful blood-red violin through various centuries of the human experience, The Red Violin is a definite must-see film.
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