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Shakespeare Hamlet Review

In: English and Literature

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William Shakespeare is a popular author in Hollywood. Recently, we have seen several renditions of his comedies and tragedies brought to the silver screen from Trevor Nunn's THE TWELTH NIGHT to Baz Luhrmann's modern ROMEO AND JULIETTE, but few compare to the new staging of HAMLET by Kenneth Branagh. No other actor, producer, writer, and director has done the preeminent Bard more justice and honor than Kenneth Branagh, and he pushes this theater production to epic proportions. With lavish sets and lush costume design changing the setting from medieval to the 19th Century, this tale of a son's revenge for the untimely death of his father at the hands of his father’s brother delves into humanity's fundamental questions of: What does it take to be an honorable man? An honorable king? An honorable father? An honorable son?

This story involves all levels of drama, including violence, intrigue, sex, and madness. The movie begins in the middle of a story. The King of Denmark has died and his brother is taking the throne and the Queen as his bride for the sake of the country. Two guards see an apparition coming in the night. The apparition is seemingly like that of the deceased King, so the guards callto Horatio and the son of the King, Hamlet, to confirm their visions. When Hamlet arrives, the apparition takes him away and demands that he put his father’s soul to rest for his "most horrible and foul murder." Alone, he is faced with the duty of exacting revenge for his father's death on his uncle, and the commission likely throws him into insanity.

The character of Hamlet is wrought with complexity and divisions. He is the height of Shakespeare's character sketches and is every thespian’s desired role in the theater. Kenneth Branagh played this role in the theater before he brought him to the screen. Although we learn most of the story through the story's dialogue, it...

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