How to film one of Shakespeare’s most filmed plays? Following the huge success of Baz Luhrmann’s
Romeo and Juliet, filmmaker Michael Almereyda chooses to set the Prince of Denmark’s story in corporate Manhattan. Ethan Hawke plays a morose Hamlet, a scruffy, self-pitying video-maker who loathes his mother and father. Paranoia and depression are all present in the Hotel Elsinore and the Denmark Corporation. Ophelia is an East Village hippie while Bill Murray crops up as the advisory Polonius. And what better place for the hero’s moment of supreme indecision than when he’s browsing in the Action section of a video store?
‘To thine own self be true’. Whether this could be said about such a very contemporary Hamlet is the question. But with its high-tech gadgetry and vivid central performances, it certainly makes for entertaining viewing.
US, 2000. Drama. 112 minutes. Director: Michael Almereyda