Hamlet - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Hamlet Reviews

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December 22, 2015
David Tennant accomplishes what very few actors have ever done by giving us a brand new take on the Prince of Denmark. Sir Patrick Stewart is a chillingly gregarious King in this top flight production.
September 4, 2015
This version of Hamlet is a filmed version of the 2008 cast of the Royal Shakespeare Company production. It stars David Tennant as Hamlet and Sir Patrick Stewart as both Claudius and the ghost of King Hamlet. The plot, for those of you who at this point have somehow missed it is this. Hamlet's father Hamlet, King of Denmark, is found dead. Hamlet returns from school in Wittenberg for Hamlet's funeral and discovers that Hamlet's Wife has remarried Hamlet's brother Claudius making him Hamlet's step-father. Hamlet then sees the ghost of Hamlet who tells Hamlet that Hamlet was murdered by Claudius. Hamlet seeks to avenge Hamlet's death by murdering dear old uncle-dad. Did you follow all that?

Things I Liked:

David Tennant. Now this is a Hamlet I can get behind! Tennant soars as Hamlet playing a quirky and interesting dynamic between Hamlet's "madness" and his more lucid moments, the speeches and soliloquies are thoughtful yet not overdone and he really stands out without trying to be a leading man in a film. David Tennant is spectacular in this version and I can only imagine what seeing him live must have been like.

Patrick Stewart. Sir Patrick Stewart is a legend and he reminds us of why here. His portrayal of both Claudius and Hamlet's Ghost are distinct and interesting and each have their own power. They take control of scenes and they harness a lot of moments that really soar sometimes even above Tennant's performance. The work Stewart does is a magnificent array of emotion and expressions, some subtle some broad and all interesting.

The Tone. While it has it's darker and it's more depressing moments, this Hamlet plays a lot with the humorous moments. Polonius is a great source of comic relief and Tennant's madness is not overdone and is a bit clownish which really helps to keep you interested as opposed to many grim and troublesome variations of Hamlet. I was so delighted that this one allowed humor in and quite a bit. It made the movie much more enjoyable.

Things I Didn't Like:

Ophelia. Mariah Gale as Ophelia fell a little short in this one. She wasn't very memorable or interesting and fell by the wayside and when she finally has her tragic fall into madness, it isn't something that grabs at your heartstrings because you find you do not care about her the way you should.

The setting. The way the film is set up feels like too many different places. It feels like the world is disjointed from itself and never appears cohesive. It has a very stylistic approach which makes sense with it being adapted from a play. But overall there are moments that seen a little out of place and it can be distracting at times.

Overall. Overall this version is my favorite so far. Tennant and Stewart carry a film that I feel captured the tone of the play very well and the script's cuts make it feel as though nothing is missing. There are issues with the star power overshadowing the other characters, most notably Ophelia and the setting seems odd and sometimes distracting. But the story is the true star and the actors bring it out in a wonderful way.
½ January 26, 2015
Crikey. David Tenant gives an awful lifeless performance.
Patrick Stewart gives a solid performance of Claudius, though this cannot save it.
October 6, 2014
Oh, does Dear Tennant know how to do madness. Shakespeare is certainly easier to get into in action, you get context clues as my third grader says. Still hard for me to understand, but Tennant and all the rest put on a great performance. I was prepared to watch in two parts but having started earlier enough, and having interest enough, I watched the near three hours in one sitting.
April 26, 2014
David Tennant is my Hamlet.
February 5, 2014
Methinks 'tis ok :)
but Tennat's performance is somehow hysterical, clearly in the soliloquies
September 21, 2013
It keeps some of the depth of the play, and both Tennant and Stewart are great. However, some acting isn't that great and the editing was pretty poor. Shots from surveillance cameras seem random and out of place, but it's nothing atrocious. Overall, an enjoyable movie, but falls short of some other adaptions.
September 17, 2013
I fell in love with David Tennant again ! He's totally legitimate in the crazy part of Hamlet. The others, the King, Laertes, Ophťlia, the Queen are scary and amazing! I found the play very accurate, adapted in a modern setting, a bit too long, but then, you have all the dialogs! To be or not to be...
August 18, 2013
This is a good example that you need more than a great script and highly skilled actors to put on a good show. You also need a half-decent director.
August 4, 2013
David Tennant is brilliant as Hamlet!
July 24, 2013
My favorite play. I've seen every version committed to film that I can find and this one surpasses them all. Additionally it's one even my young grand daughter enjoyed and understood. Tennant shines in this production which has been called "the Hamlet of a generation". I loved how he brought out Hamlet's smart-mouth side, yet still delivers even in the darkest scenes.
½ May 31, 2013
Out of the many renderings of this classic work, this is neither the best nor the most imaginative. But what points it gains is for the stellar cast and for the sheer visceral, albeit unrefined, nature of the filming. Putting a stage work on film is a difficult trick at best, no less so when it involves such a heralded work of the Bard as this. But this particular adaptation has its moments. For film, it's a bit over-staged and over-stagey, but you can't fault the overall talent and David Tennant isn't entirely miscast as the gloomy Dane. Tennant's best work emerges when he's opposite someone with chops and fearlessness to match his own, which make the best moments of this rendering the ones with Gertrude (appropriately Freudian, one could argue). Not for the faint of heart, but a valid adaptation nonetheless and while not entirely entertaining or lacking in content, it has enough shining moments to appeal to the most die-hard of Shakespeareans.
½ May 4, 2013
English is not my first language, and I have always found Shakespeare difficult, ancient and inaccessible. That has changed for me with David Tennant's portrayal of Hamlet. The old lines make sense to me in this interpretation, all the different plot lines come together and the story becomes relevant and feels very contemporary. Patrick Stewart as Claudius is extremely scary and gives a feeling of exceeding evil and lust for power. Peter De Jersey is simply heart warming as Hamlets friend Horatio, and all the exchanges by these two marvelous actors are spectacular. In general, the cast is very good, and even characters such as Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, who are usually somewhere between dull and annoying, are engaging, it is even possible to sympathize with them, when Hamlet puts them through the wringer. I am less impressed with Ophelia, when she acts opposite Hamlet, however the scenes of madness are very strong.

The Hamlet we meet in this production is very clearly defined, and moves delicately and beautifully in and out of the realms of mourning, sanity, madness and feigned madness, and does it with a dramatic and comedic grace rarely seen anywhere. I had not seen David Tennant in anything before, but I was completely blown away by his performance and have been a slave of his genious ever since. For me, his is a seminal Hamlet.
½ April 16, 2013
Tennant's unique and entrancing performance makes this excellent and polished production incredibly memorable.
Super Reviewer
April 7, 2013
The classic tale of tragedy comes to the screen in the best adaptation of Hamlet ever. Three hours of pure and utterly brilliant film-making, that's packed with great sets, thrilling craft and astonishing performances that will grab you and not let go for a moment. A complex, exciting and dynamic thriller that's laced with suspense and stunning craftsmanship. This film breathes new life into Shakespeare's greatest play. A true masterpiece of the stage and now film. An extremely powerful and unforgettable movie that's a thrill to watch. Patrick Stewart and David Tennant give superb, passionate and brilliant performances. Tennant gives a spectacular performance as Hamlet, a defining performance of a role for a generation. Tennant is wondefully breathtaking. Stewart is extraordinary, he gives such life and dedication to his complex role of Claudius. I love it, this movie is spellbinding from start to finish.
½ November 26, 2012
(I submitted this as an English essay)

Gregory Doran‚(TM)s adaptation of Shakespeare‚(TM)s Hamlet was very well done. I enjoyed both Kenneth Branagh‚(TM)s adaptation and Gregory Doran‚(TM)s adaptation equally. However, I felt like this adaptation did the better job of staying true to the play. While it does put a big modern spin on the play, it maintained the story‚(TM)s original dark and grim atmosphere.

This movie was much better casted than the other adaptation. Having a younger actor (David Tennant) play Hamlet seemed to better fit the character‚(TM)s childish mannerisms. He acted with a great range of emotions. While Kenneth Branagh acted the part psychotically most of the time, David Tennant‚(TM)s acting ranged from psychotic to tranquil, from joyful to depressed, from hateful to loving. This great range of emotions portrayed in a very off-putting way helped show the character‚(TM)s emotionally-contradictive personality, which is what Shakespeare likely intended.

The minor characters were also very well casted. Gertrude was portrayed as emotionally troubled as opposed to old and bitter, which I felt added more dynamic to the film. Claudius seemed more intimidating and antagonistic in his polite manners, in a ‚devil in disguise‚? sort of way. The Ghost of Hamlet was acted antagonistically as well. While reading the play, most often the reader‚(TM)s first impression of the ghost wouldn‚(TM)t be that of an antagonist. But the way the part was acted was very tour de force, and aggressive in a kind of ‚Raging Bull‚? demeanor. The portrayal of the Ghost reflects Hamlet‚(TM)s fluctuating emotions, but also foils his lack of anger and confidence. Also, it was very smart to portray King Hamlet as more directly antagonistic than King Claudius, because it helps the audience focus more on Hamlet‚(TM)s inner conflict and less on his family affairs. I also thought it was very clever to make Patrick Stewart play both Claudius and the Ghost of Hamlet, because they were physically the same person, but almost polar opposites in their demeanor.

This movie had less production value than Kenneth Branagh‚(TM)s version. However, I liked the lesser production value of this version. It creates a whole different atmosphere. Kenneth Branagh‚(TM)s adaptation had Victorian, well lit settings that seemed almost too lively and grand. The setting of this version is much ‚colder‚?. The rooms are smaller and the halls are narrower, giving the movie more tension. It also makes less use of lighting, for a dark and gloomy feel. It also gives the movie more ambiguity and suspense, while only focusing on what‚(TM)s important (example: the ‚ghost‚? scenes at night sometimes kept the actors in the dark while lighting the ghost when it makes its appearance, then uses lighting to capture the actor‚(TM)s reactions). All of this helps to capture the play‚(TM)s true heart of darkness, which I really appreciated.

There was a difference in this version‚(TM)s sequence of the play‚(TM)s scenes. Kenneth Branagh‚(TM)s adaptation was very ‚paint-by-numbers‚?, in that it reflected the original text in its entirety. But this adaptation‚(TM)s removal and rearrangement of scenes made it seem more ‚movie-like‚?, so that the plot is more easily comprehensible and entertaining.

What I appreciated the most of this movie is its well thought out use of different types of shots, which all had different purposes. The type of shot that I considered most cleverly executed was the found-footage shot. In this movie, it is in the form of security camera footage. I felt that the use of this type of shot helped to increase feelings of paranoia. My favorite example of this is during Hamlet‚(TM)s ‚to be or not to be‚? monologue, where Polonius and Claudius watch him via the security cameras. This scene also made a good use of long shots (shots that last longer than a minute without cuts) and close-ups, which help the audience appreciate the acting more as well as create more intensity. A lot of long shots were used during monologues. The long close-ups in the ‚to be or not to be‚? scene, matched with the found footage shots, created a really intense and paranoid tone that I really enjoyed and did not expect.

Another type of shot that the director implemented that I really enjoyed was jump-edited shots. This is when two sequential shots don‚(TM)t differ in camera angle, and the subject remains on camera but in a slightly different position. Jump-edited shots were cleverly used during Hamlet‚(TM)s soliloquies to show sudden shifts of emotions. In one shot he‚(TM)d be maniacal in his expressions, and it will cut immediately to a shot of him in a sad and melancholy trance. This makes it seem like these two emotionally-polar sides of him coexist, and the intention of this was likely to mess with the viewer psychologically, which I really enjoyed.

I also really enjoyed the varied use of static shots and moving shots. In Kenneth Branagh‚(TM)s adaptation, most shots were moving, making the movie seem much livelier. However, this adaptation consisted of mostly static shots to create a better gloomy atmosphere. The moving shots are only used when something is going wrong. This helps guides the viewer‚(TM)s emotions.

Overall, I really enjoyed this film. The varied acting, the gloomier production atmosphere, the clever execution of different shots, and the more coherent plot sequence all helped to create a wonderful adaptation that is unique in that it stays true to the play not literally, but through artistic elements. This is a wonderful adaptation that deserves more recognition than Kenneth Branagh‚(TM)s, so that moviegoers can be exposed to the play‚(TM)s true raw heart of darkness, rather than given blockbuster eye-candy that only captures Hamlet‚(TM)s words and not its spirit.
November 15, 2012
loved it, David Tennant played a good part, I want it on DVD, it was a great movie but I thought it was a bit too long, I thought it was great movie, it was directed by Gregory Doran, it also starred Patrick Stewart
October 14, 2012
BLIMEY! What a performance!! <3
August 7, 2012
RT has it wrong, this isn't a Broadway Production of Hamlet, the Royal Shakespeare Company, to my knowledge have never performed on Broadway. That being say, the modern dress style and the fact of NO AMERICAN PRODUCER INVOVLEMENT, helps his version of Hamlet stay true to its roots as opposed to some of the tripe we've seen of other modern dress attempts (ex: Romeo & Juliet)
July 15, 2012
Fantastic production!
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