The Red Violin
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The Red Violin is the story of a masterfully crafted violin that touches the lives of everyone it comes in contact with as it spans centuries as well as various countries. Described as a sweeping tale with epic like features, The Red Violin strategically connects each individual that has the luxury of experiencing the gift of this fine instrument to someone who previously enjoyed its music. This gives the violin an almost mystical quality as it moves along through its predetermined course.
The plot begins in the 1700s with Nicolo Bussotti, famed violin maker, creating the perfect instrument for his unborn child. Tragically both his wife and child die at childbirth and he finishes the violin in a stain of red that marks the blood of their deaths. The violin moves through time and different owners as well as five different countries before it lands at a Montreal auction house in the 20th century. The main protagonist of the movie, Charles Morritz, surfaces as a violin expert called in to appraise the instrument. Morritz recognizes the violin as a Bussotti and plots a scheme to own the violin himself.
The life of the violin sets the stage for intriguing sequences of melodrama that echo in music that rises from the instruments strings.
- Each owner of the violin reveals the magic that the instrument holds as they produce unbelievable music with the violin.
- Canadian filmmaker, Francois Girard, uses this premise to create the films artsy quality
- The Red Violin nfortunately misses the mark with the choice of Samuel Jackson as a violin expert
- The unethical quality that overrides each character does not hold the film's thematic depth
There is also the unusual connection between the violin and sexual connotations that can almost be viewed as nonsense. The moment in the movie when Frederick Pope, an Oxford musician, is caught by his lover engaging in sex with another woman as he frantically plays the violin, is an absurd sight that borders on silly. This somehow takes away from the movie's enchantment that began the violin's journey. It does however, coincide with the immoral characteristics found in each prominent character.
The Red Violin certainly captures the viewer's attention as it proceeds to unveil the life of this magical instrument. Despite its discrepancies in the film's theme it does a tremendous job at capturing the various periods through costuming and scenery and the cast works very well as an ensemble.
I would recommend The Red Violin for anyone who enjoys foreign films and has an attachment to classical music. Girard captures both of these elements quite well to add to the movie's aesthetic appeal. It is an enjoyable and captivating two hours.