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Alexander Fodor's HAMLET (2007)
DVD Review by David Blackwell
 
DETAILS:  131 minutes, deleted scenes, theatrical trailer
VIDEO:    1.78:1 (Anamorphic Widescreen)
AUDIO:    English 2.0 Dolby Digital
 
STUDIO:   Zed Resistory Company/ S'More Entertainment
RELEASE DATE:  1-24-2009

HAMLET is the favorite of mine when it comes to seeing it adapted into film.  Alexander Fodor's HAMLET is around the 70th adaptation of teh William Shakespeare play.   I like the different takes on HAMLET.  I'm not the biggest fan of the Mel Gibson one.  I like the ones that have Kenneth Branagh or Ethan Hawke as the title character.  The 19th century setting for Branagh's whole play version ran at four hours where Hawke;'s wa set in modern day New York.  Now comes Fodor's version where Hamlet is a pawn, Horatio is a woman, Ophelia is a drug addict, and Polonia is Ophelia's older femme fatale sister (who has Ophelia hooked on the stuffby the way).  
 
This take on Hamlet is interesting despite it's flaws.   I didn't like some of the halogenlighting technique on some of the scenes (it makes everything too washed out and too bright at times).  Just don't get me started on some of the framing of some of the character's faces by showing half of it in the frame instead of full frame.   Ophelia's brother, Lartes, is a brute.   I was the least impressed by the guy playing Hamlet even though he is clearly the pawn in the game played by his father's psychotic ghost who has influence on tjhe living and has a hand in Ophelia's death.    The real stand-outs are the women who play Ophelia, Polonia, and Horatio.   Then Claudius is downright fgood in this one too.   Tallulah Sheffield is fantastic as the drug addict version of the character (watch the scenes when she searches for the drugs after Polona is killed by Hamlet).   As for Horatio, the unsaid subtext in the film makes it seems like she is in love with Hamlet while Polonia makes more sense as a femme fatale than Polonius as Ophelia's father ever did.

For those who haven''t seen HAMLET, the plot is simple.  Hamlet comes home to Denmark where his father's ghost wants revenge for his murder at the hands of his brother Claudius (who is now married to Hamlet's mother).    Hamlet is also in love with Ophelia.  Hamlet acts quite mad as he tries to reveal the guilt of Claudius (first many think hamlet is mad because he is in love with Ophelia).   HAMLET is hard to miss because many have either seen it as a film or as a play.   I think it is Shakespeare's most famous play.  Given the number of times it has been performed or adapted (for film or TV), I think each adaptation needs to bring something new to it.   Fodor's HAMLET brings many new things to the play in this adaptation including adding a landmine to the grave diggers scene.  Now I want to see HAMLET as a sci-fi film, a horror flick, and film noir.   I wasn't a great fan of MACBETH, but staging it as an Australian gangster film makes that one come alive.   I just can't wiat for the next (Hopefully inventive) take on HAMLET or any Shakespeare play for that matter.

SPECIAL FEATURES:
I wish Alexander Fodor did an audio commentary for this one.  However, the only extras are twenty-two minutes of deleted scenes and teh theatrical trailer.  The deleted scenes do feature some gems liek the full play that Hamlet has shown as a film to his family and friends, the full grave diggers scene, and an interrogation scene.
 
FINAL ANALYSIS:  Alexander Fodor's HAMLET is an interetsing and yet flawed take worth checking out for film and Shakespeare fans alike.
 
this DVD review is (c)3-2-2009 David Blackwell and cannot be reprinted without permission.   send all comments to lord_pragmagtic@hotmail.com and look for other reviews on this site and at http://enterline-media.tripod.com