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Hamlet (2000)
1 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
To see or not to see, 25 May 2004

This is an ambitious project with a very strong cast, yet for me, the modern setting does not quite work with the play in the way that Baz Lurhman achieved with Romeo & Juliet. Another reviewer called it "bland" and that is a good description - it is almost wholly unengaging and consequently one of the most gripping of stage plays is produced as a tedious and uninspired movie. Ethan Hawke brings very little to the part - other than looking cool, although other performances are generally strong - the fault is almost entirely with the direction and the interpretation. I applaud the ambition of the project, but sadly the end product is a disappointment. In staying as faithful to the text as possible, the gaps in the interpretation are too clearly exposed.

Interesting, but not great.

5 out of 8 people found the following review useful:
Oh so bad, 25 May 2004

This is mind numbingly bad. Camp acting, gabbled lines - they clearly assume the audience will not understand anyway, so they just play it for slapstick. Absolutely no redeeming features. All directors should watch this to understand how to make a make a mess of Shakespeare. Avoid at all costs. It is badly cast, poorly acted, badly directed and the critical taming scenes badly cut. This is just the sort of rubbish that puts people off Shakespeare and it is entirely the fault of the production and not at all the fault of the material. If you are studying the play, this will not help your understanding one bit. In fact you'd be better watching "10 things I hate about you" for all the liberties it takes.

0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Different - but not necessarily good, 25 May 2004

On the plus side, the subject matter is a little different - and the female cast in particular are strong, but the story line lacks humour - the director/writer reveals that the only moment that made me laugh in the whole movie was inserted at the suggestion of the cinematographer! In the end, it's one of those movies that you come away from thinking "what was the point of that?" - it's mildly entertaining but not funny enough to be pure entertainment and not clever enough to have a message. And if you get this on DVD, like I did, save yourself from the tedious director's commentary which is one of the worst I have heard - and I've heard a few! Even she sounds bored of her own voice - and who can blame her.

7 out of 15 people found the following review useful:
One dimensional, 8 August 2003

It is hard to criticise such a wonderful cast and it is true that the theatrical delivery of the "greats" (Richardson, Olivier and Guilgud) is a joy. Their speach alone is to the ear what great wine is to the tongue.

But, ultimately this is unsatisfying other than anything else than for historical interest. The problem for me is that Lord Olivier's Richard is just too one dimensional. Sure, he gets the evil Richard down to "a tee" but Shakespeare's Richard is so much more than this. Shakespeare's Richard is at his most dangerous when he smiles. He is able to woo not one, but two women (with varying success) and he is able to get people "on-side" despite his self-evident evil - not least because he is able to disguse it, at least in the first half of the text. For Shakespeare, only the audience truly sees his evil for much of the play - from the opening "winter of discontent" speach through to other asides. Olivier's Richard is evil to anyone who cares to glance at him. This makes it almost impossible to understand HOW he could have done what he did.

It is certainly worth watching this but it is misguided to take it as a definitive version, despite the cast.