7.1/10
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Hamlet Goes Business (1987)

Hamlet liikemaailmassa (original title)
A bizarre black-and-white film noir reworking of Shakespeare's 'Hamlet'. After the death of his father, young Hamlet inherits a seat on the board of a company controlled by his uncle that ... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Pirkka-Pekka Petelius ...
Esko Salminen ...
Klaus
...
Elina Salo ...
Esko Nikkari ...
Kari Väänänen ...
Puntti Valtonen ...
Simo (as Hannu Valtonen)
Mari Rantasila ...
Helena
Turo Pajala ...
Aake Kalliala ...
Pentti Auer ...
Isä / Haamu
...
Vartija
Vesa Mäkelä ...
Lääkäri
Maija Leino
Pertti Sveholm
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Storyline

A bizarre black-and-white film noir reworking of Shakespeare's 'Hamlet'. After the death of his father, young Hamlet inherits a seat on the board of a company controlled by his uncle that decides to move into the rubber duck market. But Hamlet is suspicious of the circumstances surrounding his father's death... Written by Michael Brooke <michael@everyman.demon.co.uk>

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Comedy | Drama | Romance

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Release Date:

21 August 1987 (Finland)  »

Also Known As:

Hamlet Goes Into Business  »

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Technical Specs

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Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film has all the essential moments of the play, To be, or not to be -monologue being a notable exception that it is not included. See more »

Quotes

Polonius: How are you, Hamlet?
Hamlet: Alright, thank God.
Polonius: Do you know me?
Hamlet: Sure, You are the butcher.
Polonius: No, I'm not.
Hamlet: I wish you were.
Polonius: Why?
Hamlet: It would make you more respectable. Only one man in 10,000 is respectable and even he's nothing much to boast about.
Polonius: That's true.
Hamlet: For if the sun breeds maggots in a dead bitch it's worth the carrion to kiss it. You got a daughter?
[...]
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Connections

Version of Hamlet (1908) See more »

Soundtracks

Twist à Saint Tropez (Yyterin twist)
Composed by Solal Cohen, Guy Lafitte
Written by Lucian Morisse, André Salvet
Finnish lyrics Kari Tuomisaari
Performed by Timo Jämsen
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User Reviews

 
Uniquely-styled noir story using characters and plot points from Hamlet
4 June 2016 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

"Hamlet Goes Business" (1987) is not a retelling of Shakespeare's play. It uses plot points, plot elements and character names that are taken directly from "Hamlet", but this is not in any sense an updated version or a new version of that play. That's because it jettisons or drastically alters the characters. Their personalities are entirely different. The connection to "Hamlet" is indicated by that name in the title; the disconnection is indicated by the rest of it - "Goes Business".

I like the movies of Aki Kaurismäki. Lately, I've been watching quite a few. My sense is that he doesn't have big budgets and therefore he tends to make modest films. Within that constraint, he is true to his own art. That art has some unique stylistic ways that critics no doubt can elaborate better than I can. His characters are more deadpan than is typical. Their acting is more subdued, on average. The dialog is often fresh and unexpected. In this case, setting the story in a business environment and following through on that premise is genius. The cinematography has a modern presence to it. It's not really how classic noir used to look and not how most neo-noirs look past 1970. It's more like what Jarmusch's "Down at Law" looks like. A lot of his films are called comedy because of a satirical element. I didn't find this one to be comic except in a few spots. There's dry humor at times and trademark Kaurismäki humor, but I'd say that this movie is more serious than his others.

Unlike Hollywood movies or a lot of them, there's no real romance. There are some male-female relationships, but they are rather one-sided, distant, or somehow off, not really expressing two people in love or a healthy love. The characters in this story are rather distant, aloof, cold. It's not a happy fee. The story is noir, but again it's in this unique way. It's not as if there is a theme of fatalism or being trapped or loss of identity. It's more as if the people deep down or beneath the surface were puppets, even though they obviously are not by either their actions or emotions. There is a loss of humanity that's depicted again and again in this picture, a loss of sympathetic or empathetic feelings. The machinery of the system is dominating. The main character has all sorts of manifestations of things going wrong in his life without really feeling it or understanding it.

Acting is excellent, with some familiar faces in Kaurismäki's stock company showing up.


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