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Hamlet (2009)
Actors: David Tennant, Patrick Stewart, Penny Downie, Oliver Ford Davies, Mariah Gale
Director: Gregory Doran
Genres: Drama, Television
NR     2010     3hr 0min

David Tennant and Patrick Stewart star in this critically acclaimed production of Shakespeare?s masterpiece from Britain?s renowned Royal Shakespeare Company. No recent stage production in Britain has attracted the excitem...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: David Tennant, Patrick Stewart, Penny Downie, Oliver Ford Davies, Mariah Gale
Director: Gregory Doran
Creators: Bethan Jones, David Horn, Denise Wood, John Wyver, Seb Grant, Taro Teraoka, William Shakespeare
Genres: Drama, Television
Sub-Genres: Drama, Drama
Studio: BBC Warner
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen - Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 05/04/2010
Release Year: 2010
Run Time: 3hr 0min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 53
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English
Subtitles: English

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Movie Reviews

... Tis well. I'll have thee speak out the rest, too
E. A Solinas | MD USA | 02/21/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)

""Hamlet" doesn't need any introduction -- the tortured Dane, the ghost, meditations on suicide and a climax full of death. But while many adaptations of Shakespeare's classic play feel stuffy and distant, this "Hamlet" has it all -- sleek elegant sets, powerful acting, and clever modern twists on the age-old stuff. And the best part is the brilliant performances by David Tennant and Patrick Stewart.

Prince Hamlet of Denmark (Tennant) is understandably upset when, only a short time after his father's death, his mother Gertrude (Penny Downie) marries his uncle Claudius (Stewart). But when Hamlet encounters the tormented ghost of his father (Stewart again), he learns that his dad was murdered by his uncle -- but he's plagued by indecision, since he's unsure if the spirit was truly his dad.

Hamlet's behavior becomes more bizarre and erratic -- he dumps his girlfriend Ophelia (Mariah Gale), arranges a play that mimics real life a little too closely, and generally acts like a loon (yodeling with a fake crown?). But when an argument with his mother ends in tragedy, Hamlet's fate is sealed as Claudius begins plotting to get rid of him too...

"Hamlet" is one of those plays that only really comes out two ways -- either you have a passionate, intense tragedy full of very human characters, or you have two boring hours of some whiny guy talking to himself. Having suffered through the latter in the past, it makes me appreciate a well-done performance all the more -- and this "Hamlet" is full of energy, vitality and wit.

A lot of that comes from Tennant, who is simply brilliant as Hamlet -- loads of energy, and a weird edge to his "madness" (example: freaking out Polonius by pulling a weird face). And he runs the entire emotional gamut here -- love, pain, puckish comedy, loathing, sorrow and shock, with the absolute peak being the hauntingly sad "to be or not to be" scene.

And Patrick Stewart is casually brilliant in his double role -- Claudius seems like a genial guy, but Stewart lets out little hints of his true nastiness; on the other hand, the ghost is all heavy intensity. Downie is excellent as Gertrude, and Gale is rather flat in her first few scenes, but after Ophelia goes mad she's amazing. Ripping off her clothes, leaping around, smacking Gertrude -- it's frighteningly good.

And the settings and costumes are similarly amazing. The entire play is done in a sleek, elegant modern style ("mad" Hamlet runs around in jeans), but the grandeur of a royal court is still there -- lots of elaborate formal clothes, and a looming, columned black palace-stage. There are some clever modern twists (Polonius spies through a one-way mirror and security cameras), and there are some truly brilliant bits of symbolism sprinkled through the story (Gertrude seeing the mad Ophelia in a shattered mirror).

This adaptation of "Hamlet" is a solid piece of work, with the smooth feeling of a classic play done by insanely talented people. Also: David Tennant is astounding."
Fast-paced, witty, and chilling.
samarkand | 02/27/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Director Gregory Doran has firmly positioned his Hamlet in the realm of the psychological thriller, a story that starts moodily and then begins to careen towards its inevitable end. Showcasing why the Royal Shakespeare Company is considered one of the world's premier classical theater companies, the entire cast shines--especially David Tennant as Hamlet, Patrick Stewart as a quietly devious Claudius, and Oliver Ford Davies as a strangely sympathetic Polonius. Tennant's remarkably naturalistic line readings, and ability to make even the most famous soliloquies sound brand new, make the language easy to understand and immediate. This is a pacey, unfussy, modern-dress version that will draw in younger viewers and would be perfect for use in the classroom. Even in the US, where David Tennant isn't a household name as he is in Britain, his portrayal of the Prince will charm viewers with his wit, charisma, and depth of feeling. The wonderful chemistry between David Tennant and Peter de Jersey (Horatio) makes their deep friendship an integral part of the unfolding tragedy. Patrick Stewart's Claudius is subtle, a consummate politician, almost never letting his mask slip to show his true nature.

A fantastic production for a modern audience, the RSC's Hamlet will go down as one of the greats."
A fresh, daring version of Hamlet
S. Riffle | 04/30/2010
(4 out of 5 stars)

"I was excited to hear that the Royal Shakespeare Company had made a film adaptation of Hamlet based on the stage production with David Tenant, since I had heard he was excellent in the title role. This film actually became my favorite version of Hamlet so far!

A huge part of the credit should go to director Gregory Doran, who sets the tone for the dark production. This Hamlet plays more like a slow thriller than any I've ever seen. It's set in modern times, which gives it a fresh take and introduces new meanings for certain characters. It also uses modern technology to it's advantage: security cameras line every wall of the castle, so you never know who may be watching Hamlet. I also loved the set design of the film, with it's dark lighting and mirrored halls and floors. It was eerie and claustrophobic, giving new meanings to Hamlet words: "Denmark's a prison". The cinematography was also fantastic: I especially loved the shots of Hamlet looking in the broken mirror after killing Polonius and the scene with Claudius confessing.

As for the cast, I have mixed feelings. I absolutely loved Penny Downie as Gertrude, she stunned me with her brash portrayal. As much as I loved Glenn Close in the role (especially her soliloquy on Ophelia's death) I thought Downie's portrayal was ultimately more tragic and real. I also thought the supporting actors who played Polonius, Ophelia and Laertes did a wonderful job. I was thrilled at first just to hear Patrick Stewart recite Shakespeare because he is such a great actor and he has a fantastic speaking voice. But I have to say he's not my favorite Claudius, only because his interpretation is a little different. His Claudius is more contained in his emotions, which also makes him seem like more of a villain in certain ways. An example: after the play (which reenacts him killing his brother) he doesn't seem to react too much. He simply walks across the room and gives Hamlet a murderous look. I appreciate his take on Claudius, but it's not how I interpreted his character reading the play.

And what of Hamlet? I hope David Tennant fans don't hate me for this, but my opinion is a little mixed in his performance. In one way, I liked how he always kept me guessing about his emotions and sanity. I've watched Kenneth Branagh and Mel Gibson in this role, and out of the three he made me believe that Hamlet was insane (at least at one point). But then he seems to recover. I still can't answer what exactly Hamlet's state of mind was, and that is the sign of a great performance. After all, the question of whether or not Hamlet was insane is one of the great debates of Shakespeare fans. But then at times Tennant seemed to be a little too over-the-top with his expressions, at least for me. And I really didn't like his dying scene. It reminded me a little bit of Bottom acting in "Midsummer": whenever I thought he died because he went still he moved his eyes and came back to life!

So despite a few dislikes, I have to say I really loved this version of Hamlet. It will definitely be the one I watch when I want to see my favorite Shakespeare play on film."
What An AMAZING Production!
Lorenzo M. in the Hollywood CA Area | North Hollywood, CA USA | 06/08/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Hats off to the BBC and the Royal Shakespearan Company! This is an amazing production of THE most popular play in CLASSIC Theatre of all time. An amazing cast, amazingly directed and a wonderful twist on the production side of seeing this classic.

Reading from the original text, from the original play, this production has a tone and movement that keeps you glued to the screen. This is the actual HD VIDEO production what was the orginally play performed on the stage of the actual Royal Shakespearan Company in Europe for over a year!

Directed by Gregory Doran in a visually contemporary style, the production looks as if it was shot today, right down the street. The costumes, the sets, the light is very modern and real. It takes the look of the fact that Shakespeare might have written this for your family - while watching the family of Hamlet literally unraveling with lust, intrigue and murder.

Hat's off to Patrick Stewart (Star Trek TNG) for playing the duel roles of Claudius and his brother - HAMLETS father's - a Ghost! What can be said about Mr. Stweart - except that he was BORN to do Shakespeare! Commanding and speaking the original text as if it were written just for hiM!

My amaement really came from a stunning performance by Mr. David Tennat (Doctor Who #10). He really gave the title character an extremely interesting, funny and provacative twist this legendary literary icon. I couldn't keep my attention off him. Especially when he and Patrick Stewart were on the same screen. Tennant was witty and surprisingly funny! David took the facial expressions and mannersism of a clown and make you laugh and fear in the same breadth. Watches his eyes!

Other great performances came from Oliver Ford Davies as Polonius, Penny Downey as Gertrude, Peter de Jersey as Horatio and Edward Bennett as Laertes. A great ensemble of performers who obviously work well together!

The third most outstanding performance came from Mariah Gale as Ophelia. She was creepy and funny and scary and memzmorizing! When she flips at her fathers death - and then her brothers death - it is chills you to the bone! Watch her eyes!

The bonus features include a behind the scenes retrospective of the making of the production with interviews of all the cast and crew. And there is a really interesting commentary with the director and many of the production staff.

Definately my new favorite production of this Age-Old story. Everyone -young and old should have this Blu-Ray in their collection! I think even Shakespeare would be proud! I wish he could see it! 6-8-10"