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In "Hamlet," Isa(Pentti Auer) is dead as a doorknob, having been poisoned by his business partner Klaus(Esko Salminen) who was having an affair with his wife Getrtrud(Elina Salo). As a result, Isa's son Hamlet(Pirkka-Pekka Petelius) gains 51% of the company's stock while Klaus is named president. That works out well since all Hamlet wants to do is get it on with his girlfriend Ofelia(Kati Outinen) who wants to wait until they get married. As Hamlet is distracted, Klaus puts his masterplan in motion to convert the company to exclusively make rubber ducks.
With "Hamlet Goes Business," Aki Kaurismaki puts his unique stamp on the venerable William Shakespeare play by inserting a little absurdity(The movie contains one of the top ten puns of all time) and rock and roll. The black and white cinematography adds a little noir to the mix. Otherwise, the gist of the play is intact, even if the underlying subtext has been altered in places, leaving with us a less sympathetic Hamlet, not trapped by fate, instead an active participant in covert corporate warfare with his new stepfather which leads to some incisive class commentary.
(Originally reviewed in the blog section on July 24, 2009.)
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