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The RSC puts a modern spin on Shakespeare's Hamlet in this filmed-for-television version of their stage production. The Prince of Denmark seeks vengeance after his father is murdered and his mother marries the murderer.
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Nicol Williamson takes the lead role in this star-studded 1969 version of William Shakespeare's tragedy. Prince Hamlet mourns both his father's death and his mother's remarriage to Claudius... See full summary »
New York, 2000. A specter in the guise of the newly-dead CEO of Denmark Corporation appears to Hamlet, tells of murder most foul, demands revenge, and identifies the killer as Claudius, the new head of Denmark, Hamlet's uncle and now step-father. Hamlet must determine if the ghost is truly his father, and if Claudius did the deed. To buy time, Hamlet feigns madness; to catch his uncle's conscience, he invites him to watch a film he's made that shows a tale of murder. Finally convinced of Claudius's guilt, Hamlet must avenge his father. Claudius now knows Hamlet is a threat and even uses Ophelia, Hamlet's love, in his own plots against the young man. Murder will out? Written by
In keeping with the modernized presence of all things Shakespeare throughout the film, Hamlet travels on a plane. This is also a play on words because in the original text of the play the scene takes place in "A plain in Denmark". See more »
In his soliloquy, Hamlet says "The undiscovered country to whose bourn /No traveler returns." Shakespeare wrote, "The undiscovered country *from* whose bourn /No traveler returns," i.e. no one comes back from the next life to tell us what it's like. See more »
I cannot recommend this film enough. Although I can see where the abridged text might put purists off of this very stylistic modern interpretation one of the bards most famous plays, I found it to be the most poetic and honest cinematic Hamlet yet. Ethan Hawke plays hamlet much like he plays his other roles, with over sensitivity, intelligence, and a strong sense of futility. His talents are aptly used in this version of Hamlet where instead of seeming like an ancient warrior prince Hamlet seems to be a fairly normal, if rich, art student caught up in an impossible circumstance.
The acting overall is worth noting as is the ingenious use of technology. However since the films praises have already been well sung on those counts by others, I'll mention how the film felt. It took me a little while to suspend disbelief. As the film establishes itself with mentions of "Denmark" corp. and "Elsinore" condos it leaves you very aware that you are watching an unusual production of the famous play. Likewise, at the begining of the movie I found myself identifying all of the actors like a tourist, "That's Bill Murray, Hey is that Kyle McLaughlin?" etc... but it didn't take as long as one might think to become totally caught up things. And I did become completely caught up even though I'm fairly familiar with the play. The best way I can describe it is to say that in other versions of this and the bards other plays one is often more familiar with the speeches and the poetry than with the characters as living breathing people. Hamlet 2000 made me feel genuine hatred for Claudius and sorrow for Hamlet. The Elizabethan English with American accents and cadence seemed more natural to the ear than the bold theatrical speak that most Shakespearian films seem to think is a requisite.
I think the people who take their literature like medicine because it is good for them will be sorely dissapointed by how enjoyable this movie is but in my opinion it is an excellent balance between the beauty of Shakespeare's text as text and the exciting story contained within.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
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