Hamlet, a Danish prince, is not happy his father has recently died and his mother has married his uncle, Claudius who is now king, less than two months later. Not long after this he is visited by the ghost of his father who tells Hamlet that he was murdered by Claudius. Hamlet swears that he will avenge his father. This being a Shakespeare tragedy it won't surprise anybody that by the time it is over just about all of the protagonists will lie dead. I think that this was the first film version of a Shakespeare play that I watched and I really enjoyed it. The Shakespearian language isn't difficult to follow, especially after one has got used to its rhythm. Mel Gibson does an impressive job as Hamlet; one can really believe that he is descending into madness and he can certainly handle the action in the final sword fighting scene. The supporting cast is full of familiar faces; Glenn Close, Alan Bates, Paul Scofield, Ian Holm and a young Nathaniel Parker to name a few... they all do an impressive job but it is Helena Bonham Carter who stands out for her portrayal of the tragic Ophelia; her breakdown after the death of her father and her apparent abandonment by Hamlet is almost painful to watch as it performed so well. While this is famously a tragedy that doesn't mean it there aren't moments of comedy which are still funny four hundred years after they were written. Director Franco Zeffirelli has cut down the script somewhat so that even though it is still over hours old it never drags and I didn't feel as if I was missing something of course had a seen other versions first I may have felt differently. Overall I'd definitely recommend this anybody; it is a fine introduction to Shakespeare that makes it accessible without the need to modernise it.
Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, finds out that his uncle Claudius killed his father to obtain the throne, and plans revenge.
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April 14, 2019