Hamlet

  • 123'
  • USA
  • 2000
If the film of the future is one that necessarily confronts its own end - and 'to be or not to be' is certainly the question - then there are few better choices than Michael Almereyda's Hamlet. Set in modern New York, where the masters of the universe reign frominside the Elsinore Hotel, this newest iteration of the Shakespeare drama re-imagines the Danish prince as a brooding mixed-media artist equally fluent in video and film. As played by Ethan Hawke, Hamlet seems as preoccupied with finding a means of self-expression as untangling his murderous family intrigue. It's a twinned preoccupation that plays out variously, finding form in that most rarefied and archaic of technologies, pixelvision, and reaching an apotheosis during Hamlet's most famous soliloquy, which begins with a video image of a Buddhist monk and culminates in a video-rental store. When Hamlet wanders an aisle flanked by shelves labeled 'action,' Almereyda locates not only a new context for the original tragedy and its indecisive hero, he re-frames a question that haunts anyone caught between action and inaction, being and nothingness. In the process, the director also makes a striking case for the existence of film predicated on a harmonious relationship with digital video - this Hamlet wields a High-8 video camera but catches 'the conscience of the King' with a Super-8 movie.(Manohla Dargis is film editor of the L.A. Weekly and critic for Harper's Bazaar.)
Director
Michael Almereyda
Country of production
USA
Production Year
2000
Festival Edition
IFFR 2001
Length
123'
Medium
35mm
Language
English
Producers
Double A Films, Andrew Fierberg, Amy Hobby
Sales
E1 Entertainment Benelux
Screenplay
Michael Almereyda
Cast
Ethan Hawke
Local Distributor
E1 Entertainment Benelux