The Week in Review

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The Independent Culture
THE FILM

ROGUE TRADER

OVERVIEW

Writer/director James Dearden's version of derivatives trader Nick Leeson's single-handed destruction of Barings Bank.

"For a movie about gambling, Rogue Trader is a dispiritingly bland, risk- free enterprise that fluffs just about every opportunity to make a killing... Any investment must be taken at your own risk," warned Anthony Quinn. "Shot in the flat tones of a television movie, with one or two imaginary sequences thrown in to justify some kind of big screen time," grumbled the Evening Standard. "The dialogue can barely keep pace with its own banality," added the Financial Times.

"A terrible waste of the talents of Ewan McGregor," concluded The Guardian.

"The flavour of just desserts is unmissable," offered The Times, however.

A dull rendering of a story with less to it than met the eye. Mitigated only by a turn from Tim McInnerny as a Barings bigwig.

Rogue Trader is out on general release, certificate 15. 92 mins

CRITICAL VIEW

OUR VIEW

ON VIEW

THE PLAY

THE MERCHANT OF VENICE

Trevor Nunn's new interpretation - set in a minimalist 1920s - starring Henry Goodman as Shylock and Derbhle Crotty as Portia.

With "liberating contradiction and complexity at every turn... this Merchant is a deeply rewarding experience," beamed Paul Taylor. "Another remarkable success for the National's increasingly indispensable ensemble," seconded The Daily Telegraph. "One of the best Merchants I have ever seen... Full of sharp insight and melancholy premonition," added the Mail. "For all its vitality, this Merchant casts no serious new light on the play... And we feel Nunn's embarrassed determination to realign Shakespeare's sociological attitudes to ones that will ingratiate today," objected the Financial Times.

Exceptional performances complete a stylish evocation of this versatile work. Will please the familiar and uninitiated alike.

The Merchant of Venice is at the Cottesloe Place, London, until 11 September. For bookings and enquiries, call 0171-452 3000

THE GIG

REM

The diffident rock giants performed at the Earls Court Exhibition Centre as a prelude to their appearance at Glastonbury last night.

"The REM legend is still potent enough for their audience to indulge them, but in places the balance between new and old material was a little delicate," opined James McNair. "Minus the warmth and humanity of Up, this show felt like a potential masterpiece waiting to be completed," concurred the Mail. "For all their presentational skills, they remain a curiously gauche and unspectacular live attraction... Despite a grungey, low-fi sound, the performance was decidedly lacking in energy," complained The Times. "Stipe flailed like a man possessed as the strobes pulsed," observed The Sun.

REM have coped well with the retirement of drummer Bill Berry, but suffered a lack of stage presence in a large venue.

"Suspicion", the new single, is out on Monday (WEA)

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