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Hamlet back to product details

Surprisingly good
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written 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
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written 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
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written 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.

a little unimpressed
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written by giantrobot January 10, 2004 - 12:32 AM PST
4 out of 5 members found this review helpful
i dunno. i'm usually a big fan of shakespeare, and even modern adaptations of his works as well. i missed this at the sf film festival a few years back, and was glad to finally see it, but to be honest, it left me a little cold. aside from the translation to a modern setting, this film seems to do little to convey the angst and trauma that, to me, is the essence of hamlet. ethan hawke is great at times, but often meandering. and kyle maclachlan really isn't a good enough actor to pull off claudius, especially to the degree that this adaptation requires.

aside from throwing gratuitous use of fax machines and video cameras, i thought that taymor's "titus" and even luhrmann's "r&j" were much more interesting.

and what's a hamlet without the "alas, poor yorick" scene anyway?

trying to outdo shakespeare again?
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written by winky April 10, 2002 - 9:11 PM PDT
10 out of 10 members found this review helpful
i tend to stay away from modern interpretations of classic works. peter sellars has been struggling to do this with opera for years and has arguably had his best successes in applying the classical art form of opera to modern problems (e.g. sellars' production of john adams' the death of klinghoffer (in my opinion, the best first act of opera around) versus sellars' attempt to modernize don giovanni). in general, i'm left with a deeply dissatisfying sense that this is post-modernism at its worst. so it wasn't until a friend of mine pushed me a few times to pick this film up.

what almereyda succeeds in doing is taking a powerful story and retelling anew within a modern context. there are just enough references to the classic staging to appease diehard shakespearians and just the right blend of surrealism and literalism to suspend belief. in short, this is one of the best modern adaptations of a classic story i've seen.


12345678910

(Average 6.14)
70 Votes
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