The Red Violin

Writers Don McKellar and director Francois Girard must be unfamiliar with the conventions of supernatural irony—they seem to imagine there's some mystery in this painfully obvious story about a red-tinted violin that curses everyone who plays it. Linking several vignettes set in different countries and eras by means of two cloying transitional devices—a 17th-century tarot reading for the violin maker's pregnant wife and a 20th-century auction of the instrument—the filmmakers have created a pretentious extended Twilight Zone episode with obscenely high production values. With McKellar, Samuel L. Jackson, Carlo Cecchi, Irene Grazioli, Anita Laurenzi, Jean-Luc Bideau, Christoph Koncz, Jason Flemyng, Greta Scacchi, Sylvia Chang, and Liu Zi Feng. R, 131 min.

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