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Hamlet (2000)

Cast: Ethan Hawke, Ethan Hawke, Kyle MacLachlan, more...
Director: Michael Almereyda, Michael Almereyda
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Studio: Miramax
Genre: Drama, SNL Alums, Shakespeare
Running Time: 113 min.
Languages: English
Subtitles: English
    see additional details...

William Shakespeare's classic tale is brought to the screen for the third time in ten years in this modernized interpretation. Writer/director Michael Almereyda updates the story to the present day, where Hamlet (Ethan Hawke) is a struggling filmmaker whose personal and familial trials are set against the machinations of a huge production firm called the Denmark Corporation. Joining Hamlet as he seeks revenge for the death of his father and the wedding of his mother to an enemy are Kyle MacLachlan as Claudius, Julia Stiles as Ophelia, Bill Murray as Polonius, Sam Shepard as the ghost of Hamlet's father, Diane Venora as Gertrude, Steve Zahn as Rosencrantz, and Dechen Thurman as Guildenstern. ~ Mark Deming, All Movie Guide

GreenCine Member Reviews

Surprisingly good by Texan99 September 5, 2010 - 2:12 PM PDT
This is a strange one. I can't say I disagree with many of the very sharp criticisms in the other reviews, but the fact remains that I've watched this movie twice with great enjoyment. As in "Romeo+Juliet," I was surprised to find that the Elizabethan English inserted into a modern setting didn't bother me at all. Diane Venora was quite wonderful as Gertrude. I've just now realized that Ophelia (Julia Stiles) was the profoundly unhappy young CIA operative in the Bourne movies. She was utterly convincing to me here. I'm glad she smiles briefly and radiantly at the end of the last Bourne movie, because I was beginning to wonder if she could.

A witty, groundbreaking postmodern Hamlet by figtree April 6, 2005 - 5:39 PM PDT
3 out of 5 members found this review helpful
Saucy, ambitious, inventive and whimsical-- this movie is the perfect antidote for all the insipid archaic-dress versions of Hamlet you may have seen.

Granted, Baz Luhrman was there first with his 'Romeo & Juliet' but this Hamlet is the intentionally cold, brooding answer to Luhrman's gaudy, sloppy prime-time soap opera.

Each actor (whatever their respective strengths) turns in one of their most solid performances in recent memory.

Reading some of the negative reviews, I have to wonder... if you like your Shakespeare done straight, end of discussion, then why bother picking this film up?

Instead, why not applaud the playful ironies and creative visual translations that will (gasp) require even those familiar with the story to pay attention to what's on the screen from start to finish?

The flavor and nuance of this version just gets better with repeated viewings-- from the leather-jacketed, motorcycling Horatio (Karl Geary, perfectly cast) to Bill Murray's spineless, blindly cynical Polonious, to yes, the infamous video store scene-- which is, by the way, meant to be ironic.

If you like films to take chances, and want to see a talented cast throw themselves with wit and passion into a director's hip and edgy take on *the* archtypal tale of existential despair, you owe it to yourself to check out this version of Hamlet.

this movie is awful by lividsnails January 23, 2005 - 1:41 PM PST
0 out of 4 members found this review helpful
This movie was so forgettable I had to read the synopsis again to be sure I hadn't seen it already. I remember seeing this when it was out in theatres and it was sooo bad I think I walked out (I can't remember) and I almost NEVER walk out on movies! I believe in giving them a fair chance to redeem themselves in the end. I think it seemed to me at the time that it trivialized my all-time favorite Shakespearian play that I just wanted to puke. This modern adaptation will make you hate modern adaptations.

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GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 6.14)
70 Votes
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Shakespeare on DVD at GreenCine, annotated
It's hard to search for Shakespeare plays, so this list as of 12/07 may help. Alphabetized by main word in title; renamed adaptations such as Throne of Blood are mentioned but not listed. To see GC's own list, click any 'Shakespeare'-as-genre link.
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