Movie Review 2007 #33: The Red Violin

Before Independent films and studios were a dime a dozen, most independent films were indeed “under the radar”. The Red Violin in 1998 was part of a tradition of such films gaining wider release and attention by a sprinkling of more well known actors and more accessible themes.
The Red Violin’s main stars are Samuel Jackson and Greta Sacchi.


The Red Violin tells the story of the titular instrument, a special violin, created at the same time as a tragic event in the Bussotti household. The movie revolves around two hubs, a tarot reading by Cesca, at the time of the violin’s creation, which foretells its fate, and the present day, when the violin is presented at auction.
The stories span the history of the instrument and the music it makes, from gypsy players, to a violin prodigy, to a tempestous affair between a Victorian composer/player and a writer, to the Cultural Revolution in China, and finally the revelation and investigation of the revealed instrument by Jackson’s Charles Morritz. The stories are all very good. This can be a two edged sword, any particular story does not last too long before we are whisked away to the next one, with the tarot reading and the auction as intercutting scenes.
The movie won an Oscar for best original score, which is fitting and proper for a movie which is based on a violin and the music it makes. The music is beautiful to listen to, since we get so many different types of violin music throughout the film, from folk to gypsy to classical.
The movie is seductive, sexy, and engages the senses.
Amber introduced me to this movie, since it was one of her favorites, and it has, since, become one of mine.