Hamlet – 2004 Warner Brothers
Staring Mel Gibson and Glenn Close
I found this movie on a rack of used DVD’s for sale. It cost me only $4.99. It was well worth the purchase price.
The story of Hamlet is a familiar one, filled with all the elements of a classic Greek tragedy. Hamlet, the borderline psychotic prince of Demark, has lost his beloved father. He is told that his father was bitten by a snake. However, as the story unfolds, Hamlet is drawn to a high tower in the dark of night, where he see and speaks with the spirit of his dead father. Through this meeting he learns that his father was poisoned by his uncle. The uncle has since become king in his brothers place, and, as if to heap coals upon the boys head, he has also married Hamlet’s mother. The story takes may dark twists and turns as it wends it way to tragic end.
Mel Gibson gave a brilliant new reality to the character of Hamlet. I was truly delighted.
For so long, stage and screen actors have overacted the character in an attempt to bolster the tragedy. But Gibson has been able to give us a Hamlet that is real, and true. You see, Hamlet is a character that is always slightly one side or the other of the edge of sanity. He is tormented and driven by suspicions, and spirits. He hears voices, and see’s visions. Mel Gibson was able to give us this fragmented Hamlet to perfection. Gibson’s own personality both in films as well as is public life, is one that appears to teeter on that same edge. There is a look in his eyes that he was able transmit to the eyes of Hamlet, that makes it clear; this is a person who is neither safe nor sane. You are left with an unsettling impression that this is a person who is not really safe to be around.
It is my opinion that this short movie has captured the essence of Hamlet better than any play or previous movie production that I have seen.
Don’t let the fact that it is Mel Gibson, Mad Maxx, who is playing the lead roll put you off. It is well worth watching. I believe that you will come away happy that you took the time to see it. You may even want to sit for a second showing.