Sunday, January 16, 2011

Hamlet (Kenneth Branagh)

4 hours long? "To be or not to be."

Film Review Archive (date seen: October 31, 2010)

An exhausting (both in length and content) but worthwhile screen adaptation of arguably the masterwork of William Shakespeare. Hamlet, as how he was always described as the "Melancholic Dane", lingers through every stage productions and film renditions with controlled anger and fury suppressed by sadness.

But Kenneth Branagh, who also directed the film, added an energetic haze into the Prince's persona, turning him from a quiet rebel into an unpredictable, flamboyant protagonist, playing out the character with both loud intensity and emotional subtlety. Through its running length of 4 hours, though there are some clever use of quick editing, Branagh's "Hamlet" may very well be one of the cases of "substance over style", championing the sheer strength of Shakespeare's material too much that the film itself sometimes becomes unconscious of its cinematic audience and that some of it actually looked very much "theatrical", save for the live sets.

If I have to pick the best "Hamlet" adaptation from the 3 which I have seen, I have to say the Laurence Olivier version, with this and Franco Zeffirelli's tied; Though this film version is good, I thought its visuals were too pretty to completely emphasize the core of the play, yet it's (the visuals) also one of the film's main points that made it much more accessible than the other versions. I'm really unsure on what to say about this film, but maybe it's an unconscious psychological effect from the "man that could not make up his mind".


No comments:

Post a Comment

1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die

Ivan6655321's Schneider 1001 movies widget