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Hamlet (2000) Review


Excellent
A new school of acting should be constructed based on the method of Ethan Hawke. I am the first to admit that I enjoy Ethan Hawke in almost anything he does. The reason I like him so much is because he brings the essence of the brooding soul to the screen so well. Hawke plays Tortured Guy so perfectly they should give an award at the Oscars every year and call it the "E. Hawke Award for Best Brooding Performance of the Year". As a natural-born brooder, the character of Hamlet perfectly suits Hawke because the role has always been given to older guys looking to validate their dramatic acting chops. Hawke's Hamlet is the Generation X Hamlet. A Hamlet that uses his "discontent" with the world as a razor against the neck of reality.

This updated 20th century Hamlet is brought to vivid realism by independent director Michael Almereyda. Almereyda places the play in the year 2000, creating the state of Denmark as a huge conglomerate, the slain king a CEO, and Hamlet as a digital video maker. This interpretation sounds almost like it's going to be as much fun as a ten-car pileup on the expressway; you want to turn your head away from in disgust but are strangely curious about what happened.

Continue reading: Hamlet (2000) Review

Hamlet Review


Weak

There's a lot of intrusively leaden, urban-industrial style and distracting, pop-edited minutia masquerading as cleverness in writer-director Michael Almereyda's modern Manhattan "Hamlet."

Just the inordinate amount of blatant product placement -- apparently a misguided commentary on consumerism -- is by itself enough to obscure Shakespeare's profundity and passion in a virtual haze. Ophelia listens to Moviefone in one scene for absolutely no reason -- she's not even going to the movies -- and the "To be or not to be" soliloquy takes place in the action section of a Blockbuster store, for cryin' out loud. Why the director would do such a thing is so confounding that you'll tune out half the speech trying to figure it out. Certainly that isn't what he had in mind.

But while it's burdened by such shortcomings, this Y2K date-stamped take on the melancholy Dane -- appropriately played by Ethan Hawke as a brooding, film student heir to a business empire called the Denmark Corp. -- is nonetheless a mildly compelling visitation on the Bard's most complicated tragic hero.

Continue reading: Hamlet Review

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