Grigori Kozintsev's rendition of Shakespeare's Hamlet is quite remarkable. Although at first it may seem a little odd watching this great work of Shakespeare in Russian, one quickly forgets this fact as the story draws its viewers in. The settings and costumes have an amazing visual impact because they look so authentic. The castle is monstrous and foreboding. The grounds outside of the castle invoke much of the same feelings as one side faces the ocean with waves that lap up on the shore littered with massive boulders. On the opposite side, an old graveyard provides Hamlet with the perfect setting to ponder "to be, or not to be."
As you may know, Hamlet is a story about the Danish prince Hamlet that takes revenge on his uncle for killing his father. Hamlet's mother remarries his uncle much to Hamlet's disliking. Unquestionably, it is a sad story with a twisted side. Revenge, murder and death never seem to go away, so there is something timeless about this tale. We may feel sympathetic toward Hamlet at first, but as the story progresses, we see the whole situation is such a mess that there are no easy answers or solutions to the quagmire Hamlet finds himself in. No other word but tragedy describes this story.
The black and white images in this movie are unforgettable. I am sure others would agree that the actors are just as exceptional. In a way, the images being devoid of colour add some extra level of grimness to the overall feeling of the movie. I would say this film is one of those that works amazingly well in black and white, but wouldn't have as much power if it were in colour. If you are into Shakespearian cinema, this Russian version of Hamlet is worth checking out.