Just watched The Merchant of Venice
, Al Pacino 2004 version. Oh my god *stabbity*. Seriously, by the end I just want to stab pretty much every character except Shylock. And Antonio gets a bit of his just reward by the end, so not so much stabbity and actually, y'know, is not a self-involved selfish fuckwit like the rest of the cast.
Long-term readers of this lj will already know my feelings towards Jessica, Shylock's daughter who runs off with her dad's money. However, after seeing the play for a second time and concentrating a bit more on the words, (though they probably edited her part down a bit for film so she comes across as more sympathetic), I now want to stab the rest of the cast. Many times. The largest knives being reserved for Portia. The lads are... well, Bassanio's a using fuckwit who gets by on being pretty and living off whoever he's sleeping with's money, that's established in the first scene when he asks Antonio for money. (also known as 'Hi, I've got you wrapped round my little finger to the extent that I feel completely comfortable asking my lover for the money to marry someone who I completely admit I'm only marrying because she's gorgeous and loaded'). His mate's just laddish and full of himself. And *isn't* marrying for money.
Portia though... oh dear lord. First act : 'Hi, I'm clever, funny, and I know I'm gorgeous. Aren't I great?' Second act : Not content with having got Antonio off the hook from the pound of flesh, she proceeds to twist the knife. Again and again and again. Just to show how clever she is and how much she's read the law, and she does this with complete glee because she's pleased with how clever she's being. 'Right, now that we've established that you can't cut Antonio because you can't shed his blood, you can't have the money you're owed either instead. Oh, and half your goods go to Antonio because you're reneging on the deal. And the other half goes to the court. And did we mention your lands? And Antonio, you can add another sting... Ooo, you have to embrace Christianity and leave your community and all that. Sucks to be you.' Pause. 'And while I'm at it, hubby, in payment for saving your boyfriend, I want that ring I made you promise never to take off. Just to see if I can. And then when I get home, I'm going to ask to see the ring and then call you faithless and inconstant for giving up the ring which I blackmailed you into giving up.' :winning smile: 'Aren't I *great*?'
Though, um, I seriously don't get the people who call this play anti-semitic. Er, no. The entire play is about how the rest of the cast and society are anti-semitic and the only person who's in the right is the Jew, and considering the 'pound of flesh' is a joke at first, then after his daughter fucks him over he gets a wee bit focussed on revenge. But note that legally he is still in the right. And still a better person than the rest of the main cast. The point being that anti-semitism is wrong, no matter how pretty and rich you are.
In other news, great acting, gorgeous film, wonderfully set mood and tone-wise. And the way there's no concept of private space at any time. Props to the director and cast for making all the speeches sound like conversation or quite natural rants. Even if Al Pacino's voice has always annoyed me.poisoninjest
, feel free to wade in at any time...
:deep breath: Now I'm going to watch Battlestar Galactica, where everyone at least knows they're fucked up.