Critics Consensus

Stiff performances fail to produce any tension onscreen.



Total Count: 89


Audience Score

User Ratings: 10,262
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Hamlet Photos

Movie Info

William Shakespeare's classic tale is brought to the screen for the third time in ten years in this modernized interpretation. Writer/director Michael Almereyda updates the story to the present day, where Hamlet (Ethan Hawke) is a struggling filmmaker whose personal and familial trials are set against the machinations of a huge production firm called the Denmark Corporation. Joining Hamlet as he seeks revenge for the death of his father and the wedding of his mother to an enemy are Kyle MacLachlan as Claudius, Julia Stiles as Ophelia, Bill Murray as Polonius, Sam Shepard as the ghost of Hamlet's father, Diane Venora as Gertrude, Steve Zahn as Rosencrantz, and Dechen Thurman as Guildenstern.

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Diane Venora
as Gertrude
Julia Stiles
as Ophelia
Steve Zahn
as Rosencrantz
Bill Murray
as Polonius
Jeffrey Wright
as Gravedigger
Karl Geary
as Horatio
Dechen Thurman
as Guildenstern
Casey Affleck
as Fortinbras
Rome Neal
as Barnardo
Tim Blake Nelson
as Flight Captain
John Martin
as Claudius' Bodyguard
Bernadette Jurkowski
as Blockbuster Clerk
Robin MacNeil
as Player King
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Critic Reviews for Hamlet

All Critics (89) | Top Critics (22) | Fresh (51) | Rotten (38)

  • It could prove almost as definitive -- and far more easily digestible -- than Branagh's textually complete version.

    Jul 6, 2008 | Full Review…

    Ken Eisner

    Top Critic
  • The lines are read for the most part with more feeling for the angry-stepchild plot than for the iambic pentameter.

    Apr 27, 2007 | Full Review…

    Andrew Sarris

    Top Critic
  • Almereyda modernises and streamlines without trivializing, and amplifies poetic melodrama with regular ingenuity and energy.

    Jun 3, 2006 | Full Review…

    Derek Adams

    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • Icy-cold in its palette and unwaveringly cool in its application of modern settings and gizmos to a text that stands up to endless reinvention, this is a Hamlet that brings imagination matched by thoughtfulness to its appeal to both eye and ear.

    Apr 11, 2002 | Rating: 3/4
  • The result is more than a mere gimmick and less than an unqualifed success, but yes -- it's always watchable.

    Mar 19, 2002 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • By equating the garish feudalism of the play's original setting with the megalopolis of today's New York, [Almereyda is] at least on the right track. The problem is, it's just about his only track.

    Oct 30, 2001

Audience Reviews for Hamlet

  • Sep 07, 2015
    I appreciate the go-for-broke commitment to the concept, yes it's often a complete mess but I found it a ultimately admirable effort. Regardless of whether or not it works, seeing the "To be or not to be" soliloquy delivered in a Blockbuster Video is something quite unforgettable.
    Alec B Super Reviewer
  • Apr 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.
    Al S Super Reviewer
  • Apr 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.
    Kevin M. W Super Reviewer
  • Sep 30, 2011
    Enjoyed the originality of the adaptation. Look for the reflection of the boom mic at 1:07 :)
    Ed K Super Reviewer

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