Posted by: Scott Rogers
Cast: Paul Ramey (Hamlet), Dave Nilsen (Claudius/Ghost), Rhonda Allen (Gertrude), Katerina Tamburro (Horatio), Anna Meade (Ophelia), Darrell Newcomb (Laertes), Charles Lemons (Polonius), Luke Holladay (Fortinbras), Neil Mulac (The Captain), Jason Potts (Guildenstern), Donavon Shain (Rosencrantz), Rick Marquardt (Sourdough Perkins)
Credits: A Natural Light/Panopticon Production. Executive producer Roger C. Adams, produced by Roger C. Adams, Patrick Points, Jennifer Bowman, Scott Rogers, original music by Tom Staples, Paul Ramey, additional music by Rick Marquardt, sound editing and design by Randy Chance, cinematography by Bill Green and Scott Rogers, written, directed and edited by Scott Rogers
This is very good. It’s a 2003 American production, made probably for local consumption or a film competition in the pre-online video sites era, and uploaded five years later in hopes of finding a wider audience. It certainly deserves to find one. It’s a deconstruction and reconstruction of Hamlet, set in modern times, mostly within Claudius’ claustrophobic house. Although ‘amateur’ in production, it is shot and edited with real style, employing some choices of camera angle to match the often witty take on the Hamlet story. Using modern-day speech, some of the eye-catching variations played on Shakespeare include a banjo player instead of the players, a female Horatio, the asphyxiation of the drunken Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, and Ophelia slitting her veins in a bath (the film has something of an excess of blood). Best of all are a slacker Fortinbras and friend whose comic exchanges neatly frame the film (the droll beginning and end of the film are particularly good). Performances otherwise are adequate to the purpose. The action scenes don’t work so well, and one has to admit that the film itself has nothing to say, but its invention and attention to detail mark it out as some special. Well worth thirty minutes of any Shakespearean’s time.