Director: Gregory Doran
MPAA Rating: Not Rated (originally a stage play)
Running Time: 180 min
This particular production of Hamlet was originally a stage production for the Royal Shakespeare Company. It stars two actors who have both played prominent roles in serious classical theatre but also in science fiction television shows (David Tennant, aka the Tenth Doctor of Doctor Who, and Patrick Stewart, aka Jean-Luc Picard of Star Trek: The Next Generation). I loved every minute of it! And if you are a David Tennant fan, you should also check out the Much Ado About Nothing he did with Catherine Tate in 2011!
Shakespeare’s Hamlet is a revenge story. The play opens just after King Hamlet has died and his brother, Claudius, has married the Queen and taken the crown. But the ghost of the dead king comes to his son, young Hamlet, and tells the Prince that Claudius murdered him. Throughout the rest of the play, Hamlet struggles to come to terms with his father’s death, his mother’s re-marriage, and his uncle’s treachery and to avenge his father’s death. Meanwhile Claudius must determine how much Hamlet knows and how best to deal with the problem Prince without arousing suspicions.
There have been many Hamlet films made, and strictly from a cinematic perspective, this particular production is not the best; it was originally designed for the stage. But the acting is incredible, and the director (Doran) takes great pains to make the play modern and accessible, without losing the original meaning of Shakespeare’s work. It’s a bit on the long side (3 hours), but Doran, Tennant, and Stewart really bring the story to life. This is one of my favorite interpretations of Hamlet. If you enjoy Shakespeare, it is definitely worth watching. If you have read or seen Hamlet before and thought it made no sense and was not accessible in any way, this might be the production to try!