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Hamlet (2000)

Modern-day New York City adaptation of Shakespeare's immortal story about Hamlet's plight to avenge his father's murder.

Director:

Michael Almereyda

Writers:

William Shakespeare (play), Michael Almereyda (screen adaptation)

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1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Ethan Hawke ... Hamlet
Kyle MacLachlan ... Claudius
Diane Venora ... Gertrude
Sam Shepard ... Ghost
Bill Murray ... Polonius
Liev Schreiber ... Laertes
Julia Stiles ... Ophelia
Karl Geary ... Horatio
Paula Malcomson ... Marcella
Steve Zahn ... Rosencrantz
Dechen Thurman Dechen Thurman ... Guildenstern
Rome Neal Rome Neal ... Barnardo
Jeffrey Wright ... Gravedigger
Paul Bartel ... Osric
Casey Affleck ... Fortinbras
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Storyline

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 <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

murder | guilt | city | ghost | revenge | See All (112) »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official site

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

23 June 2000 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Amlet 2000 See more »

Filming Locations:

New York City, New York, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$2,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$62,253, 14 May 2000, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$1,568,749, 13 August 2000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

double A Films See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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 »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

Hamlet: The play's the thing, with which I'll catch the conscience of the king.
See more »

Connections

Version of Hamlet Part 1 (1947) See more »

Soundtracks

Hamlet
Written by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Performed by the London Symphony Orchestra
Courtesy of Chandos Records
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Nice try, but not the words don't all come trippingly from all the actors' tongues.
31 July 2000 | by mp-25See all my reviews

Here is the first film version of Hamlet to come along in modern New York. The director's use of New York is fun to watch for this native New Yorker, although how a limo can quickly move from 42nd St. between Broadway and Eighth Avenue to 48th St. and Sixth Avenue is beyond me.

But asisde from that, all we care about when we see Hamlet is how is the text handled, by both the director and the cast. The director, Michael Almereyda, has cut into the script and most of the film runs surprising lean for something that runs one hour, fifty-three minutes. His use of short films in the background, speaker phones, TV's and the like run the gambit from ingeneous to "Give me a BREAK!"

The casting however is inconsitent, for which we can certainly blame the director. Ethan Hawke, in the title role, has drive and energy. But if anybody remembers the TV show "The Critic", when they had Keanu Reeves doing Hamlet, then you know what I'm thinking. The words "Dude" and "Whoa" seems ready to break into Hawke's speeches at anytime. The complexity is replaced by a whiny "I'm in pain, but I'm cool" attitude for the bulk of the film and it doesn't really work. The mumbling of at least a fourth of his lines doesn't help either. He works better in silence, brooding.

The silence works even better for Julia Styles as Ophelia. When quiet, the pain of abandonment and loss is heartfelt. Then she opens her mouth, and the lack of a developed character as well as an appalling lack of command of Shakespeare's words is obvious. Ophelia, never mind getting thee to a nunnery, get thee "Beverly Hills, 90210", GO!

Bill Murray veers form earnestness to his Lounge Singer's act from "SNL" when doing Polonius. I know the role was suppose to be for comic relief. But after a while, everything Murray says is funny- intenionally or otherwise.

Kyle McLaughlin, as Claudius, doesn't fare much better. There is little distinction in his line readings, and in the end, he just comes off as a one-trick pony. Diane Verona is marginally better as Gertrude. The attitude is there, as is the pain, but her line readings lack a freshness to them.

The standouts are Sam Sheppard as the Ghost, Steve Zahn and Dechen Thurman as Rosencrnatz & Guildenstern, and especially Liev Schrieber as Laertes. Schrieber in paricularly as the energy, clearity, and believabilty that makes you wonder what if he played Hamlet instead of Schrieber. We probably would have had a better movie.


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