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.
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 »
When we first see Claudius speaking, his mouth is obviously saying something other than what we hear. It lasts for about five seconds. See more »
The play's the thing, with which I'll catch the conscience of the king.
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Shakespeare has arrived in the moneyed world of New York, and I think he likes it. What particularly struck me about this film was some of the imagery and devices. Reflections are everywhere, not just in Hamlet's soliloquies: glass windows, mirrors, water, even the video screen. If we exist only in the eyes of others (J-P Sartre), then everything in this film is granted existence, even Hamlet's madness, because we see it through so many media and reflections. Hamlet's "play within a play" becomes a film, not something ephemeral, but a strip of celluloid that will last past his death, just as this play has survived so many centuries after Shakespeare's time.
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