The classic Shakespeare tale is told by co-directors Eric Simonson and Campbell Scott (BIG NIGHT, SINGLES) who also stars in the title role in this made-for-television version. Eternal themes of youth, power, greed and deceit play up in this story of a confused and unsure Danish Prince who is surprised one night by the ghost of his recently deceased father. Hamlet is surprised by his father's revelation that Hamlet's uncle Polonius killed his own brother for power and money. Hamlet then must realize a plan that will uncover his uncle's guilt and revenge his father's murder. Also starring Blair Brown, Sam Robards and Roscoe Lee Browne.
Passion, murder and revenge come alive in a modern interpretation of Shakespeare's classic.
Youthful innocence and passionate love are lost to greed, deceit and murder in Shakespeare's immortal Hamlet. Superb direction and acting by Campbell Scott (Dying Young), who portrays the tortured Danish prince, who is visited one dark night in a dream by the spirit of his dead father, proclaiming his untimely death at the hand of his own brother, Claudius. Greed is the motive. The prize is the throne and his beloved wife, Gertrude. The truth must be told through a play, if Hamlet is to enact his revenge. It's a story of the ages which never grows old.
Campbell Scott directs and stars in this not-quite-modern-dress version of Hamlet. A production can easily lose itself in attempting such a notorious great work of literature, but this one largely keeps its head. The film starts with a few silent establishing scenes--a nice touch when one already knows the characters. Some well-thought-out stage business also enhances the play, such as Gertrude frolicking with Claudius just outside an open window while Hamlet delivers his first soliloquy. Occasionally cinematic concerns seem to get in the way--the production appears so concerned with making the old King Hamlet's ghost scary that it forgets to make him ominous--and every now and then Scott falls into the self-indulgent traps that directors who cast themselves as Hamlet tend to. Overall, however, the performances are quite good. Blair Brown gives Gertrude more depth and intelligence than most actresses, and Lisa Gay Hamilton fights her way through some difficult mad-scene direction to give a fine performance as Ophelia. Roger Guenveur Smith does excellent work as Laertes--he is thoroughly comfortable with Elizabethan English and gives a lovely, understated performance. The DVD includes The Making of Hamlet. --Ali Davis
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