Hamlet (2000) - Rotten Tomatoes

Hamlet (2000)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

Campbell Scott is both star and co-director of this elaborate (albeit economically produced) four-hour TV version of Shakespeare's immortal tragedy +Hamlet, Prince of Denmark. The film is based on Scott's earlier theatrical production of the same play, with several of the same actors repeating their same roles. Updated to 1900 New York, the text remains substantially the same as it has always been: Hamlet (Scott), the "melancholy" Danish prince, discovers to his horror that his late father, the King, was murdered by his brother (and Hamlet's uncle) Claudius (Jamey Sheridan), who upon ascending to the throne, added insult to injury by wedding Hamlet's mother, Gertrude (Blair Brown). Though his desire for revenge is strong, Hamlet does not want any more bloodshed, and concocts an elaborate scheme to "catch the conscience" of Claudius and force him into a confession. Part of this scheme involves Hamlet's feigned descent into madness -- which, as interpreted by Scott, may not be as "feigned" as he thinks it is. Caught in the middle of this intrigue is Hamlet's lady love, Ophelia (Lisa Gay Hamilton), daughter of Claudius' chief consul, Polonius (played in the manner of a protocol-conscious Victorian diplomat by Roscoe Lee Browne). Some of the choices made by Scott in adapting Hamlet to the screen -- the turn-of-the-century setting; the utilization of black actors in the roles of Polonius, Ophelia, and Laertes (who is played by Roger Guenveur Smith); the casting of Byron Jennings to play both the Ghost of Hamlet's father and the Player King, who pretends to be the father -- were applauded by the critics. Other innovations, notably the use of slow jazz music throughout the action, and Hamlet's violent treatment of poor Ophelia during the "Get thee to a nunnery" scene, were not so enthusiastically received. Whatever the case, Scott does a remarkable job with a tiny budget and a slim 29-day shooting schedule. In addition to the actors' lilting interpretation of the Shakespearean dialogue and soliloquies, the film boasts a truly exciting climactic duel, shot in long takes without the use of stunt doubles. Initially produced for a theatrical release, this Hamlet made its American debut as a cable TV miniseries on the Odyssey Channel, beginning December 10, 2000.

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Blair Brown
as Gertrude
Marcus Giamatti
as Guildenstern
Byron Jennings
as Ghost of Hamlet's Father/First Player
Dan Moran
as Gravedigger
Sam Robards
as Fortinbras
Bill Buell
as Bernardo
David DeBesse
as Francisco
John Campion
as Marcellus
Lewis Arlt
as Voltemand
Leon Addison Brown
as Third Player
Lynn Hawley
as Player Queen
Matt Malloy
as Captain
Robert Simonton
as King's Attendant
Elisa Hurt
as Queen's Attendant
Eric Simonson
as Second Gravedigger
Ryan Carey
as British Ambassador
Joan Campion
as Marcellus
Peck Allmond
as Musician
Steve Berger
as Musician
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Critic Reviews for Hamlet

All Critics (7) | Top Critics (2)

Intelligent, well-acted, all-American version of the Shakespeare tragedy.

April 11, 2002
New York Post
Top Critic

Although the movies haven't lacked for Hamlets recently, Ethan Hawke and Kenneth Branagh being the latest stars to have weighed in, Mr. Scott's is something that must be seen.

Full Review… | August 17, 2001
New York Times
Top Critic

This version of the tale is far from being the first, last, best or worst. Shakespeare junkies should make their own decisions about pursuing this take, heeding advice from the man himself, 'to thine own self be true.'

Full Review… | April 12, 2002
Apollo Guide

This is one of the best Shakespeare adaptations ever filmed.

Full Review… | August 20, 2001

Audience Reviews for Hamlet

(Presentation) (First Viewing, 1st Scott film) Hallmark and Shakespeare... an odd pairing, to say the least. Campbell Scott (who both starred and directed) makes a fine Hamlet, but everything else is very TV movie quality, including the style, the editing, and the acting of the supporting characters. And at three hours long... well, I was intensely wishing I was watching the 2000 theatrical version of Shakespeare's classic play, starring Ethan Hawke (which I have not seen).

Jesse Last
Jesse Last

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