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Hamlet [DVD] [2000]

3.6 out of 5 stars 22 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: Ethan Hawke, Kyle MacLachlan, Diane Venora, Sam Shepard, Bill Murray
  • Directors: Michael Almereyda
  • Writers: Michael Almereyda, William Shakespeare
  • Producers: Amy Hobby, Andrew Fierberg, Callum Greene, Jason Blum, John Sloss
  • Format: PAL, Colour, Anamorphic, Digital Sound
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Subtitles For The Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 12
  • Studio: Cinema Club
  • DVD Release Date: 3 Feb. 2003
  • Run Time: 106 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars 22 customer reviews
  • ASIN: B000059571
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 10,690 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)
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Product description

Product Description

Modern day update of Shakespeare's classic tragedy, relocated to the business world of New York. Following the death of the King of Denmark Corporation, his brother Claudius (Kyle MacLachlan) marries grieving widow Gertrude (Diane Venora) - much to the displeasure of her son, Hamlet (Ethan Hawke). When Hamlet is visited by the ghost of his father and told that the King was in fact murdered by Claudius, he vows to take revenge, but his constant procrastination inevitably leads to further tragedy.

From Amazon.co.uk

As an entry in the Shakespeare-redone-as-teen-movie stakes, Hamlet has a less obvious hook than most. Though the gloomy prince--played by Ethan Hawke as a 20-something clinging to student status because he can't cope with the grown-up world of power politics--is a youth identification figure, the political background, translated into a big business concern with Old Hamlet as the CEO of the Denmark Corporation, is beyond the gangland simplicities of Romeo and Juliet or the high school pecking order of 10 Things I Hate About You. Michael Almereyda, after two interesting horror movies (Nadja and The Eternal), offers what he calls "a rough draft" of the play, and casts very fine players in a severely abbreviated text: the micro-presence of some (Jeffrey Wright as the grave-digger) suggests a longer version was prepared and slimmed down to this quite tight picture. The actors manage a middle ground between the original and the new context: Sam Shepard's Ghost lingers silently beyond his stage appearances to emphasise the textual theme that Old Hamlet was a sinning villain who deserves his limbo; Kyle MacLachlan's Claudius is smooth, but conscience-struck in the back of his limo after viewing Hamlet's cut-up underground film allegorising the murder; Diane Venora's Gertrude is a radical reading that plays well, drinking the poison on purpose to save her son and at once innocent of her husband's murder but genuinely committed to Claudius's rule; Bill Murray, Liev Schrieber and Julia Stiles make a good unit as Polonius, Laertes and Ophelia respectively, though the text-pruning (and especially Stiles's vulnerable mad child) turns them into victims of a selfish Hamlet rather than culpable collaborators with the something rotten in Denmark. Hawke's prince is the sketchiest reading but his knitted hat and messy student workstation make sense and he is a credible post-adolescent ditherer. This Hamlet, who has to be convinced of his uncle's guilt and that he ought to take revenge, never quite comes round to the brutal eye-for-an-eye logic of his father. The settings are steely hotel ballrooms (the coronation is translated to a press conference) and other inventively co-opted New York locales: Ophelia drowns in a huge lobby fountain, her mad scene is at a reception in the Guggenheim, the "to be or not to be" speech is delivered in the aisles of Blockbuster Video (as Hamlet prowls the Action section). Deliberately imperfect but far more interesting (and exciting) than the recent Mel Gibson and Kenneth Branagh embalmings of the play, this is a rare and welcome Hamlet that sets out to be an addition to the debate rather than a definitive reading. --Kim Newman

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