ⓘ Hamlet, 2000 film. Hamlet, also known as Hamlet 2000, is a 2000 American drama film written and directed by Michael Almereyda, set in contemporary New York City ..

Hamlet (2000 film)

ⓘ Hamlet (2000 film)

Hamlet, also known as Hamlet 2000, is a 2000 American drama film written and directed by Michael Almereyda, set in contemporary New York City, and based on the Shakespeare play of the same name. Ethan Hawke plays Hamlet as a film student, Kyle MacLachlan co-stars as Uncle Claudius, with Diane Venora as Gertrude, Liev Schreiber as Laertes, Julia Stiles as Ophelia, Steve Zahn as Rosencrantz, Bill Murray as Polonius, and Sam Shepard as Hamlets father.

In this version of Hamlet, Claudius is "king" of the Denmark Corporation, having taken over the firm by killing his brother, Hamlets father.

This adaptation keeps the Shakespearean dialogue but presents a modern setting, with technology such as video cameras, Polaroid cameras, and surveillance bugs. For example, the ghost of Hamlets murdered father first appears on closed-circuit TV.


1. Adaptations

  • The character of Marcellus, one of the soldiers, is re-imagined as Marcella, Horatios girlfriend.
  • As opposed to drowning in a brook, Ophelia is found to have drowned in a fountain in front of the Hotel Elsinore, surrounded by mementos of her relationship with Hamlet.
  • Prior to delivering the "To be, or not to be" monologue, Hamlet is seen watching a video of famed Buddhist teacher Thich Nhat Hanh explaining the principle "To be is to be with others; to be is to inter-be" a basic teaching of Hanhs "Order of Interbeing".
  • The "Mousetrap" play takes the form of a video art montage, edited by Hamlet himself.
  • The first intervention of Osric is re-imagined as a fax machine in Hamlet and Horatios apartment, delivering Laertes message right before the duel. However, Osric does appear during the duel between Hamlet and Laertes.
  • Laertes does not organize a revolution. He merely confronts Claudius.
  • Fortinbras conquests are not military, but corporate takeovers with the aid of his "armies" of lawyers.
  • Instead of carrying around actual flowers, Ophelia carries polaroid photographs of various flowers. In the film, Ophelia is an amateur photographer.
  • Elsinore Castle, the seat of power of Denmarks crown in the play, is re-imagined as Hotel Elsinore, the headquarters of Denmark Corporation.
  • The Ghost of King Hamlet appears in Horatios apartment, sitting in his bedroom as Marcella sleeps, before Hamlet and Horatio enter it.
  • The Captain in Fortinbras army is replaced by a flight attendant on Hamlets flight to England.
  • Laertes does not kill Hamlet with a poisoned rapier. Instead he shoots Hamlet with a pistol, then is shot himself. Hamlet then uses the same pistol to shoot and kill Claudius.

2. Reception

Reviews of this film have been divided. Metacritic, a review aggregator, assigned the film a weighted average score of 70/100, based on 32 reviews from mainstream critics. According to Rotten Tomatoes, 57% of critics gave positive reviews based on 89 reviews, with an average rating of 5.8/10. The websites critical consensus states, "Stiff performances fail to produce any tension onscreen."

Film critic Elvis Mitchell of The New York Times lauded it as a "vital and sharply intelligent film," while The Washington Post reviewer deemed it as a "darkly interesting distraction but not much more." The reaction to Hawkes performance as the title role is also mixed. The Los Angeles Times described him as a "superb Prince of Denmark - youthful, sensitive, passionate but with a mature grasp of the workings of human nature." New York magazine, however, thought Hawkes performance was only "middling."

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