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The Making of Hamlet
Top Customer Reviews
Prince Hamlet of Denmark (Tennant) is understandably upset when, only a short time after his father's death, his mother Gertrude (Penny Downie) marries his uncle Claudius (Stewart). But when Hamlet encounters the tormented ghost of his father (Stewart again), he learns that his dad was murdered by his uncle -- but he's plagued by indecision, since he's unsure if the spirit was truly his dad.
Hamlet's behavior becomes more bizarre and erratic -- he dumps his girlfriend Ophelia (Mariah Gale), arranges a play that mimics real life a little too closely, and generally acts like a loon (yodeling with a fake crown?). But when an argument with his mother ends in tragedy, Hamlet's fate is sealed as Claudius begins plotting to get rid of him too...
"Hamlet" is one of those plays that only really comes out two ways -- either you have a passionate, intense tragedy full of very human characters, or you have two boring hours of some whiny guy talking to himself. Having suffered through the latter in the past, it makes me appreciate a well-done performance all the more -- and this "Hamlet" is full of energy, vitality and wit.
A lot of that comes from Tennant, who is simply brilliant as Hamlet -- loads of energy, and a weird edge to his "madness" (example: freaking out Polonius by pulling a weird face).Read more ›
A fantastic production for a modern audience, the RSC's Hamlet will go down as one of the greats.
However, I've always imagined a Hamlet more close to this production. A 24-ish heir apparent, who has lived a pampered but very structured life.
He treats the garrulous Polonius with a disdain that a more cultured man would avoid. He swings from prancing jabbering to deep sullenness in an instant; typical of adolescent moodiness and self importance. He feels affection for Ophelia, but lacks the gravity to approach her seriously.
Shakespeare tosses in a few college chums just to reinforce that frat boy image. We find that Hamlet is not only just a frat boy, but a prince who can get away with just about anything.
As for the Queen, the way Hamlet abuses her and yet is so needy of her approval and nurturing is almost universal of adolescent males who haven't yet grown up.
To view Hamlet as the confused and tortured young man, thrown into the adult world of murder and politics, really captures the tragedy Shakespeare 'might' have intended.
Patrick Steward was magnificent as the ghost king and Claudius his brother/murderer. The tension between the two is gripping.
The rest of the cast could not have been better. By the end you can feel the dismay that Horatio could have felt, having witnessed it all.
Excellent adaptation, but not for everyone.
A huge part of the credit should go to director Gregory Doran, who sets the tone for the dark production. This Hamlet plays more like a slow thriller than any I've ever seen. It's set in modern times, which gives it a fresh take and introduces new meanings for certain characters. It also uses modern technology to it's advantage: security cameras line every wall of the castle, so you never know who may be watching Hamlet. I also loved the set design of the film, with it's dark lighting and mirrored halls and floors. It was eerie and claustrophobic, giving new meanings to Hamlet words: "Denmark's a prison". The cinematography was also fantastic: I especially loved the shots of Hamlet looking in the broken mirror after killing Polonius and the scene with Claudius confessing.
As for the cast, I have mixed feelings. I absolutely loved Penny Downie as Gertrude, she stunned me with her brash portrayal. As much as I loved Glenn Close in the role (especially her soliloquy on Ophelia's death) I thought Downie's portrayal was ultimately more tragic and real. I also thought the supporting actors who played Polonius, Ophelia and Laertes did a wonderful job. I was thrilled at first just to hear Patrick Stewart recite Shakespeare because he is such a great actor and he has a fantastic speaking voice. But I have to say he's not my favorite Claudius, only because his interpretation is a little different. His Claudius is more contained in his emotions, which also makes him seem like more of a villain in certain ways.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I bought this to teach Hamlet to high school students. It follows the text well. I agree with the cuts, which are only a few lines here and there in most cases. Read morePublished 18 days ago by Matthew Posner
Absolutely one of my favorite movies. The performances were outstanding, and the interpretation very approachable and easy to follow for those who are unfamiliar with Hamlet. Read morePublished 23 days ago by Josie
Called the Sci fi Shakespeare by some this is a great play with two wonderful actors who do not drag their tv resumes behind them with needless stunt casting. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Graves
I thought it was a great modernized version of Hamlet. Plus, David tennet and Patrick Stewart.Published 2 months ago by Rhia
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