Hamlet Reviews

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Super Reviewer
April 25, 2013
A brilliant and astonishing modern adaptation of this classic tale or revenge and tragedy. A dazzling and remarkable masterwork that shines with style and passion. It has such an amazing all-star cast. Ethan Hawke is is truly superb, he gives one of his finest and most absorbing performances. An unforgettable movie that you cant take your eyes off of. It sizzles with energy and fierce dedication to the material.
Super Reviewer
April 8, 2007
Good modernisation, but not as spectacular as Baz Lurmans Romeo and Juliet update. Also, for Hamlet, is not one of the best versions.
Super Reviewer
April 28, 2012
An all star cast performs and modern day New York is the setting for yet another take on the Bard's most well known play, with less emphasis on delivery of the lines (the iambic problem) than on the emotional intent implied by the words. Not for everyone, but then neither is iambic pentameter. The casting choices are inspired.
Super Reviewer
February 2, 2009
This is not bad at all. Again, it's no Branagh, but I enjoyed it. I"m not sure if BIll Murray -- who is on my favorite actor list -- is delivering intentionally his Polonius lines the way he does, in that halting manner, as if not fully comprehending the words, or if he really is not doing a very good job. Even with that, this is well worth seeing.
Super Reviewer
October 29, 2008
Ethan Hawke portrays Hamlet exactly as I envision him - driven by love (not just revenge), capable of being a prick but on the whole, an introspective "passive" character. Out of the three contemporary films, this story arc makes the most sense to me: Hamlet doesn't really put on a show of being mad (yeah yeah textual evidence), he is depressed and conflicted, but everyone takes that for "madness." Of course, Hawke's low-key delivery wouldn't work on stage but the quiet moments - "get thee to a nunnery" as romantic prelude! - are the most beautiful interpretations of the Bard I have ever seen. Even "to be or not to be" in a video store is actually quite an awesome commentary - "oppressor's wrong, pangs of dispriz'd love, law's delay, insolence of office," et cetera, are all the trite tragedies in films nowadays, yet we rent them and watch them like robots, "los[ing] the name of action." Almereyda truly updates this classic for a new era of electronic and insidious voyeurism. While Stiles and Murray are terrible Shakespearean actors, Shepard, MacLachlan, Venora, and Schreiber are excellent. I must admit though, I am dissatisfied with the death scenes in all three films. And sad to say, as the result of watching so much Hamlet in 72 hours, I'm starting to believe more and more that Shakespeare wrote this in a fortnight :~P It really is an uneven plotline, deserving the title of "problem play."
Super Reviewer
½ September 1, 2007
I never found this movie particularly interesting. I remember some of the awesome camera work, but the performances fall flat and the telling of the classic story lacks energy.
Super Reviewer
½ January 24, 2010
How many times do we re-visit Hamlet? Coming a mere four years after the Branaugh classic, this is a ballsy revisiting
Super Reviewer
½ November 2, 2007
I love this version of Hamlet. Definitely more understandable. And has a different perception about Hamlet.
Super Reviewer
January 6, 2008
A sleek, moody adaptation with distinct vision and a memorably somber tone. Ethan Hawke's portrayal of the legendary character is remarkable - textured, emotional and deeply involving. This is a solidly written, directed, and acted film. I really enjoyed it.
Super Reviewer
½ March 14, 2009
I?m a fan of movies based on Shakespeare plays; it?s a genre I?ve been obsessing about lately. I think these adaptations are a great way to stretch creativity around an existing framework. This is the sixth major adaptation of Hamlet to retain the original dialogue, but it certainly isn?t the best. The film places the action in contemporary New York and makes Denmark into a corporation, the film has a slightly grunge feel. There are some inspired translations, for instance the ?to be or not to be? speech is done in a Blockbuster Video, though the basic idea of adapting the play into corporate intrigue had already been done in Akira Kurosawa?s The Bad Sleep Well. Also, Ethan Hawke is pretty good in the title role, but that?s about where the compliments end. The play has been cut pretty sloppily, I don?t think anyone unfamiliar with the material would be able to follow it. The film?s budget wasn?t very high, and the whole think is just sort of slow and bland. There are better versions of this to be found. Not recommended.
Super Reviewer
May 28, 2008
I really just don't see the appeal to Hamlet in any form.
Super Reviewer
½ December 15, 2007
An interesting movie but not a very good one. The director clearly cares about what he is making, but the film is undone by being too short, and by the casting. Many of the stars in this film are great actors but they can't pull the material off. It also gets a little too "clever" with it's modernization, such as the name of the hotel being Elsinore, the fax machine being the Osric, and it being the Denmark Corporation rather than Denmark. Now I know where the people who made the remake of the Manchurian Candidate got the idea from. There is one scene in particular which really bothered me. The scene is the one in which Polonius traditionally questions Hamlet about what he is reading. In the play this scene is the one in which Hamlet shows the audience and the other characters his feigned madness. In this film the scene is severely cut down and it is unbelievable that anyone would think that he is mad. This scene is directly followed by a scene of him rushing into his uncle's office pointing a gun, but his uncle is not there. The insinuation is that he obviously would have killed him had he been there. But this changes Hamlet's character. It doesn't interpret his character as other film versions have, it changes it. Hamlet is not a man of action. He is too slow and contemplative. He would never just go ahead and take his revenge. He has to be sure. In this version he is a little too immature.
Super Reviewer
½ November 6, 2007
This is one of my favorite stories by Shakespeare. Filled with drama and emotional disposition. Great tale of adolescence and demure love.

Super Reviewer
August 19, 2006
Good for a present day adaption, but still lacked a certain something. The acting seemed a bit forced, and Julia Styles as Ophelia was kind of annoying. I did like that Hamlet was a fan of films; just seemed clever and fit well into the plot. Not the best Hamlet movie, but still fairly decent.
Super Reviewer
June 14, 2006
one of my favourite plays of all-time... and i have to say, i was quite disapointed... the acting was quite well done, but the directing and camera angles just didn't quite work for me... the messed up the ending too... bill murray was great tho... excellent cast... not bad, not great...
Super Reviewer
March 7, 2006
An admirable effort at doing a Baz Luhrmann, but falling short. But Ophelia is heartbreaking, and the film studenty Hamlet works.
½ November 17, 2009
This is my third film adaptation I've seen of Hamlet (the other two are the ones featuring Mel Gibson and David Tennant). Overall, I liked what they did placing it in a modern setting - for the most part, I thought it worked. The movie goes a bit silly at the beginning, playing around with the whole "video editing" concept. It leads to moments where serious conversations are interrupted by a random clip of a jet - that sort of thing. Ethan Hawke's Hamlet is strangely hard to connect with. He is distant and cold, as opposed to the openly depressed or passionately wrathful Hamlets I have seen before. I like that Hawke's Hamlet is something a little different - gives me a new look at the role. The supporting actors do a good job as well. This is, thankfully, a much shortened version from the original, and the quicker pace fits the modern business-y setting. Overall, while Hamlet is perhaps my least favorite Shakespearean tragedy, this is a very interesting adaptation that is worth watching. 
½ March 6, 2012
surprisingly good. I always enjoyed the story of hamlet and it is a lot like the romeo and juliet with leonardo, with the old language used in this day and age.
April 18, 2006
This is one of the worst movies I've ever seen. I couldn't even finish it. Pretentious crap. The acting was so bad it nearly caused me physical pain. And I like Ethan Hawke, most of the time, so I was very disappointed.
½ June 15, 2011
It seems like they're just actors somehow in a modern setting reciting off of their script (or, in this case, screenplay), but it's all a great, fantastic production otherwise.
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