Critical movie review of Hamlet (2000) directed by Michael Almereyda

Essay by ranoHigh School, 12th gradeA+, July 2005

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HAMLET (2000)

A film review by ____________

Rating: * (out of ****)

How brave is it for a director to have the late Hamlet's ghost appear in front of a Pepsi vending machine? Or have the lead character telling Ophelia to "Get thee to a nunnery" via a phone answering machine? Or, maybe the boldest move of all, stage the classic "To be or not to be" soliloquy in a Blockbuster video store? In this modern version of Hamlet directed by Michael Almereyda, Hamlet returns to New York City to find his father, the CEO of the Denmark Corporation, to be murdered. Suspicions swirl around Hamlet's uncle Claudius, who has married his late brother's wife Gertrude, and assumed the CEO position of Denmark. Though this classic production has a small number of strengths and boasts many very talented actors, including Ethan Hawke, Billy Murray, Julia Stiles, Diane Venora, and Kyle McLachlan, this film certainly lacks the dramatic effect in the original play by Shakespeare.

One of the major problems in this film was the actors. Ethan Hawk, who was cast in the role of Hamlet because a large chiseled rock was unavailable, was simply unimpressive. He was bland and unemotional in almost every scene, which is in my opinion, very dissimilar from the original play. With a scraggly bear, knitted ski cap, grungy clothes, and dirty unkempt hair, Hamlet would have fit the role of a homeless man than the Prince of Denmark. If this was his attempt in gaining the audience's sympathy, he certainly fails to do so. His performance was simply unimpressive and does not fit, or act like the lead character in this film. Other performers that also overshoot their roles were Julia Stiles and Bill Murray. Cast as Ophelia and her father Polonius,