The Red Violin

Bomb Rating: 

This film is a demonstration of the path of least resistance. Let's say you're a filmmaker and you're looking to make a passionate film about music and you want to have the central figure be an inanimate object as opposed to a person. What instrument do you pick?

Naturally, if you're a lazy ass and have no interest in challenging yourself, you pick the violin because everybody thinks of the violin as being a sexy instrument. But what about a red trombone or, better yet, a red tuba? Now there's a challenge. People think of the tuba and they remember that fat kid from junior high school who periodically had to pry his own head out of the tuba after he got his ass kicked by the jocks in remedial math. Make a passionate movie about a red tuba, and I may be willing to make some concessions.

But director Francois ("32 Short Films About Glenn Gould") Girard has no intention of challenging himself; he just wants to go home early and leave the rest up to the audience. Thus, this stupid violin is made by Nicolo Bussotti (Carlo Cecchi) in the 17th century and ends up in the hands of a bunch of different people in five different countries. It finally ends up on the auction block in Montreal after authentication specialist Charles Morritz (Samuel L. Jackson) figures out how much it's worth.

Not once does Jackson use the word "motherfucker" in this film, which is an audience's primary motivation for going to a Samuel L. Jackson movie. Apparently, people who appreciate art never use the word "motherfucker," exactly the type of effete assumption one would expect from Girard. Samuel L. Jackson finds a violin thought lost for centuries that's worth millions of dollars, and nobody knows it but him. The man has obviously lost his edge: If ever there were a time to yell "motherfucker," that was it.

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