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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 »


Aki Kaurismäki


Aki Kaurismäki
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Pirkka-Pekka Petelius ... Hamlet
Esko Salminen ... Klaus
Kati Outinen ... Ofelia
Elina Salo ... Gertrud
Esko Nikkari Esko Nikkari ... Polonius
Kari Väänänen ... Lauri Polonius
Puntti Valtonen Puntti Valtonen ... Simo (as Hannu Valtonen)
Mari Rantasila ... Helena
Turo Pajala ... Rosencranz
Aake Kalliala Aake Kalliala ... Gyldenstern
Pentti Auer Pentti Auer ... Isä / Haamu
Matti Pellonpää ... Vartija
Vesa Mäkelä Vesa Mäkelä ... Lääkäri
Maija Leino Maija Leino ... 1. näyttelijätär
Pertti Sveholm Pertti Sveholm ... 2. näyttelijä


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>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Comedy | Drama | Romance


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Did You Know?


The script was written in a very loose form and according to Aki Kaurismäki he only read Hamlet on the very week he wrote the script just a couple of weeks before filming. See more »


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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Referenced in Hamlet (2000) See more »


I Love My Baby
Written by Elmore James
Performed by Elmore James
See more »

User Reviews

Best version of Hamlet I've seen
21 September 2017 | by mistoppiSee all my reviews

Like I wrote before reviewing Drifting Clouds, the actors in Kaurismäki's movies are very stiff. There's basically no emotion in the acting comparing to Hollywood movies. During Drifting Clouds I wasn't a big fan of that style, but it suits Hamlet Goes Business. It gives a certain contrast to the somewhat theatrical dialogue and the fact that this is based on a play.

Also I was surprised to see how good Pirkka-Pekka Petelius was as Hamlet. He's mostly famous for being a comedian in many sketch shows, and this is honestly the first serious role I've seen him play. Of course this is a black comedy, a spoof of Hamlet, so the role is still not entirely serious.

While I love most things about this movie, it's that ending that kind of bothers me. After seeing this film several times I'm already used to it, but it still feels very separate from the rest of the movie. It's added by Kaurismäki, which might explain that. I could go into lengths what bothers me about this, but I'd rather not make this review sound exactly like the analysis we did in class, and also I don't want to spoil you.

The music chosen for this movie is amazing. The classical music and rock music go very well together. Most of the time there's a great harmony with what we see and what we hear, but even when there's not, it' amazing. And oh, the cinematography... Weird angles and crooked shots are so great. And of course the whole movie being in black and white amplifies the whole feeling. With colours, it wouldn't be the same film.

Hamlet Goes Business is an amazing take on Hamlet, and a great satire on business world. While it's clear I will not like all of Kaurismäki's movies, I can appreciate his work and I'm glad I've found a favourite

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Release Date:

21 August 1987 (Finland) See more »

Also Known As:

Hamlet Goes Into Business See more »

Filming Locations:

Helsinki, Finland

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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