An English Professor tries to deal with his wife leaving him, the arrival of his editor who has been waiting for his book for seven years, and the various problems that his friends and associates involve him in.
Showing events from the point of view of two minor characters from Hamlet, men who have no control over their destiny, this film examines fate and asks if we can ever really know what's going on? Are answers as important as the questions? Will Rosencrantz and Guildenstern (or Guildenstern and Rosencrantz) manage to discover the source of Hamlet's malaise as requested by the new king? Will the mysterious players who are strolling around the castle reveal the secrets they evidently know? And whose serve is it? Written by
Mark Thompson <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The title comes from one of the final lines of William Shakespeare's "Hamlet", where a British ambassador enters the Danish court to find Hamlet, Claudius, Gertrude, and Laertes all dead. The ambassador's line is, "...To tell [the King] his commandment is fulfilled, that Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are dead." See more »
Throughout the movie there are scenes where day suddenly changes to night and vice versa. This is a running gag of Tom Stoppard plays which often have "time jumps" written into the stage directions. See more »
[Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are riding horses down a path - they pause]
[Guildenstern rides away, and Rosencrantz follows. Rosencrantz spots a gold coin on the ground]
Whoa - whoa, whoa.
[Gets off horse and starts flipping the coin]
Hmmm. Heads. Heads. Heads. Heads. Heads. Heads. Heads. Heads. Heads. Heads. Heads. Heads. Heads. Heads. Heads. Heads. Heads. Heads.
[Guildenstern grabs the coin, checks both sides, then tosses it back to Rosencrantz]
[...] See more »
Imagine if you will, two talented actors. They are playing quite small roles... the smallest roles in the play so are given no form of direction or motivation for their parts. They are simply told they are "sent for". They are told they are "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern" but no one fully indicated to them which of them were which. No they are thrust bodily into the play itself (Hamlet) and stripped of all their memories of their life before... they have become the characters. They know their cues, instinctively know their lines, but no one bothered to tell them the plot of the play, leaving them to figure it out (or not) for themselves. Their only source of any kind of direction is a player (Dreyfuss) who gives them a rudimentary crash course on dying and tragedy itself ("Generally speaking, things have gone about as far as they can possibly go, when things have gotten about as bad as they can reasonably get.")... and ("We are tragedians. We follow directions. There is no choice involved.") This is Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead. And it is the funniest intellectually stimulating comedy I've ever seen. Oldman and Roth deliver a wonderful performance, always desperately struggling "get it" but never quite fully understanding what's going on around them. Oldman's portrayal of the existentially distracted Rosencrantz... or is that Guildenstern... was brilliant! (G: Is that you? R: I don't know! G: (disgustedly) It's you.) Viewers who delighted in the "verbal tennis" match might also notice that this really goes on through out the movie. (Player: But why? R: Exactly! G: Exactly what? R: Exactly why. G: Why what? R: What? G: Why? Why what, exactly?) It's truly sad that this movie doesn't get the recognition that it deserves. See Hamlet... become familiar with the story line... and then see this movie. It is quite worth the effort. I give it a 10 out of 10.
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