This is the ultimate version of Hamlet. A masterpiece.Kenneth Branagh's interpretations of Shakespeare are rubbish, and he couldn't act his way out of a nutsack.Zeffirelli has captured the perfect atmosphere in which to tell this story – to make the characters believable, and to make the film a pleasure to watch. The actors – every single one of them – have played their roles to perfection. Even Mel Gibson, whom I would not otherwise have rated as a particularly talented or versatile actor when it comes to serious work – has proved to be the greatest Hamlet film has ever seen.I haven't compared this movie in detail to Shakepeare's play, no doubt lovers of the play will notice some omissions, differences, etc, but, in its own right, Zeffirelli's Hamlet is true to the mood, vibe, atmosphere, etc that Shakespeare intended. As a film in itself, it is cohesive, well-integrated, as complete as any film version of Hamlet need be.5 stars out of 5. Watch and enjoy.
There's a moment at the very end when Mel Gibson's Hamlet, suddenly gripped by poison, looses his footing. It's shocking, natural and a terrible surprise, even to him. Such is the momentum of this melodramatic, almost operatic version of Hamlet that the audience's legs are torn from under them as well. I like this very much, a Hamlet performed by a company with respect but not reverence for the text, converting the script into movie drama not simply committing it to camera.Zeffirelli's biggest coup might be the setting, a damp and distant medieval fortress at odds with Gibson's modern, witty but clearly unbalanced Prince. The British cast assembled around him are very fine – I think Alan Bates would have to be my ideal Claudius. Glenn Close's Gertrude is rather spiky but this highlights her predatory sexuality which (I think) suits this arrangement. Morricone's score is bonus. 8/10
The best Hamlet yet. Mel Gibson captures the beauty of the language. Mr. Gibson also captures the essence of the tragic hero. The period costumes are fabulous. The three defining moments in this movie that set Mel Gibsons version apart from all others are: The encounter with Ophelia in the courtyard when Hamlet exclaims (not the exact quote mind you) "you have one face that God has given you so why do you make another face to hide it". The evening play in the kings court as the players act out the murder of Hamlets father for all to see. The final fight in which Hamlet is killed by the king through Ophelia's brother and the final murder of the queen.
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