Hamlet (1990)


(out of 5)

 is excellent in the title role of the much-depressed Danish prince whose recent loss of his father has put him into a quandary: is it possible to forgive his mother () for immediately following the death of her husband with the marriage of her husband’s brother? When his father’s ghost () appears to Hamlet and tells him of the nature of his demise, our hero’s wits are reassembled (or are they?) and he sets his course for vengeance all the way. Though severely pared down from the original play, this adaptation captures the energy of Shakespeare’s original and successfully puts forth the penetrating gloom that it all takes place in (something Branagh sacrificed in place of misplaced opulence in his 1996 version). Close is probably the best Gertrude ever seen on film (though is hilariously only one year older than Gibson), terrifying and vulnerable at the same time, and the production is brought beautifully to life by the excellent period costumes and sets. Franco Zeffirelli never did a better job of bringing a classic to the big screen with such vitality and clarity of vision, and his unorthodox casting decisions serve him well to back it all up.

Canal+, Carolco Pictures, Icon Productions, Marquis, Nelson Entertainment, Sovereign Pictures

USA/United Kingdom/France, 1990

Directed by

Screenplay by , Franco Zeffirelli, based on the play by 

Cinematography by 

Produced by

Music by

Production Design by

Costume Design by

Film Editing by

Academy Awards:  1990




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