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Hamlet (2009)

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.

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Nominated for 1 Primetime Emmy. Another 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
... Hamlet
... Claudius / Ghost
... Gertrude
... Polonius
... Ophelia
Edward Bennett ... Laertes
... Horatio
Sam Alexander ... Rosencrantz / Second Gravedigger
Tom Davey ... Guildenstern
... Gravedigger
... Player King
... Osric / Player Queen
Samuel Dutton ... Dumbshow King
... Dumbshow Queen / Priest
... Reynaldo / Dumbshow Poisoner
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Storyline

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.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

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Drama

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PG | See all certifications »

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23 April 2010 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Гамлет  »

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Trivia

Patrick Stewart reprises his role as Claudius from Hamlet, Prince of Denmark (1980), in which Derek Jacobi played Hamlet. See more »

Connections

Version of Hamlet (1964) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Might have worked better on stage
7 March 2011 | by See all my reviews

Not having seen the stage performance, I can only comment on the DVD version. And, while having some nice touches, the filmed version just doesn't really work as it seems to be stuck between two mediums: a filmed stage production and an attempt to actually create a film version.

Some of the touches that try to exploit the film medium work, such as the CCTV footage, though only at times. It is a neat touch during the first appearance of the ghost and also when Hamlet tears down a camera to be alone during the "Rogue and Peasant Slave" soliloquy. Most other times it seemed an odd interruption used solely to break up the static visuals. Same goes for Hamlet filming the Mousetrap, which just seems like an odd choice thrown in to make it seem more film-y.

Having the characters face the camera and breaking the fourth wall sits rather uncomfortably as it isn't done with enough consistency. Implicating the viewer as a direct audience has to have a real good reason and that just isn't given in most of Hamlet's soliloquies or when other characters try to draw us in.

The acting, as well, seems to be more for the stage than for the camera and thus seems a bit over the top, such as Hamlet's histrionics and Claudius' elaborate shrug upon drinking the poisoned wine. I am sure this played better on stage. Tennant, especially, is not subtle enough most of the times, hindered by blocking that apparently comes right out of the stage production.

What I found intriguing was that it's one of the Hamlets that moves "To be or not to be..." to Act II, an interesting change that can make sense if presented correctly and it made sense here.

So, all in all, a credible take on Hamlet, but I feel the director and producers should have decided on either producing a full-scale film version or a filmed version of the stage production. As it is, it tries to straddle both mediums and falls short on either side. Branagh's 1996 version still stands as the ultimate filmed Hamlet for me.


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