6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: Hamlet [VHS] (VHS Tape)
If this had been my first exposure to Hamlet, I'm sure I would not have had a clue as to what the play was about after seeing this updated version.
There are some very talented actors in this film, but for many of them, this is not their shining moment, and some seem acutely ill at ease with the Bard's liquid phrases.
Liev Schreiber as Laertes is one of the exceptions. He rises like cream to the top, and seems very comfortable in the part. Also good is Diane Venora, looking gorgeous as Gertrude, and Sam Shepard is a wonderful Ghost.
Whoever decided that Hamlet should have a "grungy" look, carried it to an unpleasant extreme...and that woolen cap with the earflaps ! I realize this was done to make him look "unhinged", but it bothered me. This film loses a star, just for that hideous woolen cap.
Otherwise, the art direction is good, and the cinematography (John de Borman) is excellent, highlighting some great architecture (it also highlights a lot of "in your face" product placement). Listen for Eartha Kitt's "buckle up" message, it's a welcome chuckle.
This film is an interesting curiosity piece, but I recommend seeing the Zeffirelli/Gibson version afterwards, which is a film that gets better with each viewing, and would be in my "Top 10" list of all time favorites.