Hamlet (2000)

MPAA Rating: R

Entertainment: +3

Content: -1

In this newest rendition of William Shakespeares classic tragedy, Hamlet (Ethan Hawke) finds himself in present-day New York City. Neither the story nor the 17th century Kings English have changed, although the characters fight with guns instead of swords and are officials of companies, not countries. When Hamlets father dies, his mother Gertrude (Diane Venora) quickly remarries her late husbands brother, Claudius (Kyle MacLachlan). Hamlet is visited by his fathers ghost (Sam Shepard) and learns that Claudius actually murdered his father. Hamlet immediately reacts badly, causing many around him to think hes going crazy. But he later devises a plan to trick his uncles conscience. Of course, the intriguing story of Hamlets broken relationship with Ophelia (Julia Stiles) and her father Polonius (Bill Murray) often funny dialogues also contribute to this update of one of Shakespeares best known plays. The subtle humor of Murray in the role of Polonius is wonderful. Director Michael Almereydas edgy vision of a present-day HAMLET makes it most appealing to younger adults. And while the Old English may be a hang-up for contemporary audiences, the story and characters are brilliant, making it a must see for any Shakespeare fan.

Hamlets conversation with his fathers ghost, since it is communication with the dead, is something that the Bible speaks against. As they talk, Hamlet is told of the murderous plot of Claudius to seize power. Hamlets father also encourages Hamlet to take revenge. The story also includes its share of intrigue, as Claudius murders Hamlets father to gain control of the company. He then quickly marries the dead mans wife, both are highly unacceptable to Hamlet. The story does imply an earlier relationship between Hamlet and Ophelia, but the nature of that relationship is not really disclosed in this film. One scene of implied sex shows two people kissing on a bed. In another scene, a painting of a nude woman can be seen. The biggest problem, however, is the excessive blood and gore resulting from the violence. Although known as one of Shakespeares more violent tragedies, two confrontations are portrayed in an overly bloody and graphic way. As people are shot and killed, the incredible amount of blood may elicit a sick feeling from viewers. The excessive gore in two violent scenes puts a damper on this newest version of HAMLET.

Preview Reviewer: John Adair
Miramax Films, 375 Greenwich, NY, NY 10013

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: None

Obscene Language: None

Profanity: Few (3) times - All Exclamatory (Oh God)

Violence: Several times Moderate, twice severe (man punched, men choked, men shot, sometimes graphically)

Sex: Implied once (married couple in bed)

Nudity: Once (artistic) - Nude woman in painting

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: None

Drugs: Several times (smoking, alcohol use)

Other: Communication with dead mans spirit used as plot device

Running Time: 112 minutes
Intended Audience: Adults

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