The Red Violin

Mounted in high lavish style, from the opening strains to coda,
i The Red Violin
i0 pays homage to the careful uses of color and composition without bothering to support these qualities with any real substance. Oh, it's a class act on the surface all the way, while failing on nearly every other level to convince. The story tells the story, revealing precious little else. The 17th-century Cremonese instrument-maker Niccolo Bussotti finishes his final violin with a curious red varnish, the secret of which spans the film, yet will come as a surprise only to the very sleepy. The odd voyage of this unique violin through history is then explored from one episode to the next, from child prodigy to gypsies to Victorian virtuoso to a clandestine enclave of art lovers in Shanghai during the Cultural Revolution. This is all framed by the violin's rediscovery in present day by instrument appraiser Charles Morritz (Samuel L. Jackson), for whom the perfect instrument strikes a resonant chord. The main scheme of the film, an object connecting a number of seemingly disparate stories, has been used many times, most notably in Max Ophuls's
i La Ronde
i0 . But while this approach is employed elsewhere to cause one scene to reverberate against another,
i The Red Violin
i0 is content to leave each episode thematically unconnected with any of the others. On the decorative level, the film may satisfy many viewers with its sensuous attention to tone and detail, as well as its eclectic and expertly performed score. But as narrative it is very slight. Just pierce the pretty crust of this puff pastry and gaze in wonder at the pocket of air within.
i --Jim Gay

uuid: 0EA475E4-9F62-4922-B713-178C41DF82FF
upc: 9781588177650
title: The Red Violin
theatricalDate: 11-06-1999
stars: Carlo Cecchi
Irene Grazioli
Anita Laurenzi
Tommaso Puntelli
Samuele Amighetti
purchase date: 19-06-2007
publisher: Lions Gate
published: 20-05-2003
price: $14.98
net Rating: 4.5
MPAA Rating: R
minutes: 130
last lookup time: 204001040
genre: Romance
Period Piece
Infidelity & Betrayal
Love & Romance
fullTitle: The Red Violin
features: Closed-captioned
director: François Girard
currentValue: $8.40
created: 204001040
country: us
aspect: DVD
asin: B00008RV1S