I am officially declaring this to be the definitive adaptation of Shakespeare’s famed tragedy.
Then we have Zeffirelli’s 1990 adaptation starring Mel Gibson as Hamlet. It’s a good film, but Gibson overplays the craziness in the Danish Prince. I wonder if Gibson was just practicing for how he was going to behave a decade or so later when the actor lost his mind entirely.
We don’t feel like we’re watching Shakespeare. We are watching a grieving, bitter, angry, self-pitying and vengeful lunatic ranting and taking us into his confidence. It’s incredibly intimate.
When anyone except Hamlet talks to the camera, it comes off as distracting and irritating, even though I do understand what Doran was going for.
Or, my favorite moment, when he merrily calls out, “Goodnight, mother!” as he drags Polonius’ corpse by its feet out of her bedroom.