Hamlet, son of the king of Denmark, is summoned home for his father’s funeral and his mother’s wedding to his uncle. In a supernatural episode, he discovers that his uncle, whom he hates anyway, murdered his father. In an incredibly convoluted plot – the most complicated and most interesting in all literature – he manages to (impossible to put this in exact order) feign (or perhaps not to feign) madness, murder the “prime minister,” love and then unlove an innocent whom he drives to madness, plot and then unplot against the uncle, direct a play within a play, successfully conspire against the lives of two well-meaning friends, and finally take his revenge on the uncle, but only at the cost of almost every life on stage, including his own and his mother’s. –IMDb
Perhaps the best-known Shakespeare interpreter of the late 20th century, Kenneth Branagh began his career in a golden haze of critical exultation. First a star pupil at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts (one of Britain’s most prestigious drama schools), then a promising newcomer on the London stage, then hailed as “the next Olivier” for his 1989 screen adaptation of Henry V, Branagh could, for a long time, do no wrong. Unfortunately, a string of bad luck, catalyzed by his disastrous Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein in 1994, began to tarnish the halo that had hovered above the actor/director’s head. His lavish, four-hour Hamlet in 1996, however, did much to further his status as a man who knew his Bard, helping to alleviate some of the disappointments that both preceded and came after it.
Although his accent suggests otherwise, Branagh originally hails from Northern Ireland, not England. Born in Belfast December 10, 1960, to a working-class family, he was raised in the strife-ridden… read more
Kenneth Branagh successfully adapts one of the most famous and complicated plays in world literature, in this most ambitious cinematic undertaking. Branagh has done "Henry V," but here amidst Hamlets complexities he has a power and effect that is brilliant. Being a focused production, it allows us to understand and follow a great deal more than one would expect. I admired this version, it is a towering achievement.
My favorite Hamlet. Saw the 4 hours long version twice on big screen back in the day. Great adaptation. Daring. Best Hamlet by far.