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Hamlet (Sir Kenneth Branagh), son of the King of Denmark (Brian Blessed), is summoned home for his father's funeral and his mother Gertrude's (Julie Christie's) wedding to his uncle Claudius (Sir Derek Jacobi). In a supernatural episode, he discovers that his uncle, who he hates anyway, murdered his father. In an incredibly convoluted plot, the most complicated and most interesting in all literature, he manages to (impossible to put this in exact order) feign (or perhaps not to feign) madness, murder the "Prime Minister", love and then unlove an innocent who he drives to madness, plot and then unplot against the uncle, direct a play within a play, successfully conspire against the lives of two well-meaning friends, and finally take his revenge on the uncle, but only at the cost of almost every life on-stage, including his own and his mother's.Written by
John Brosseau <email@example.com>
seen one you've seen them all, right? wrong! I still like the sombre Olivier version and Gibson did well, but this is in a class of its own.
I finally realized with this expanded production set 200 years closer to the present the full message that Shakespeare cleverly concealed with the more prominent aspect of Hamlet's quandary, and that is he, Hamlet, is driven to distraction by the awareness its the insidiousness of human nature that created the conditions that saw his father murdered.
looking at the play with this insight you can see numerous scenes where this notion is there in the background. and by changing the era, Branagh shows yet again the astonishing applicability of that truth. all you need is to read a newspaper, something 'included' in this production.
thank god for British stage actors raised on Shakespeare.
a very rewarding viewing.
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