Hamlet, 1996

dir. Kenneth Branagh

 

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BANG, BANG, BANG, BANG. This EPIC film’s reputation speaks for itself. Even Empire couldn’t do anything but slap five stars on it and sing it’s praises like a schoolboy choir on doomsday. This is probably Branagh’s greatest achievement. It’s huge. It’s vast. It’s so long you go through stages of awe; first, ‘wow, this is a long movie’, then, ‘I’m enjoying it, but damn, will it ever end?’ and finally ‘What, it finished?? I forgot there was a real world outside.’ That’s okay though because if I were to say ‘this film is a magical journey through the inner-cosmos that will inspire and astound you’ I would be right about that. Don’t cop out on me; watch it on a big screen with surround sound and some good piff.

 

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I mean, everyone in the film gets it spot on. My personal favourite is Ophelia portrayed by Kate Winslet. If you’re not aware of what Kate Winslet is capable of, watch this film and you will have new-found respect for the actress. She is amazing. She starts out humble and sweet and maybe even kind of sexy but she ends up crazy, disturbing, totally captivating. There are SO many bright stars in this film – even the smallest roles are cast with mega-watt veterans of splendid world cinema: Reynaldo is played by the legend Gérard Depardieu (Jean de Florette, Mesrine: Killer Instinct, The Man in the Iron Mask etc. etc.), The Gravedigger by Billy Cystal (When Harry Met Sally, Analyse This, Monsters Inc.), Fortinbras by Rufus Sewell (One of my absolutely favourite actors, known for A Knights Tale and The Illusionist but capable of so much more than that – have you seen The Pillars of the Earth? Breathtaking!), The King Player by Charlton Heston (!), silly little Oscric by the Robin Williams and cameos by John Gielgud, Judi Dench and Richard Attenborough. And that’s just the supporting cast! What about Brian Blessed as The Ghost??!

 

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If you know anything about movies then I’ve told you everything you need to know. This film is a titan of British cinema history and it has re-enforced Hamlet’s throne as the greatest of all scripts. That’s not my opinion by the way – that’s a long since certified fact.

 

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