Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Is Ethan Hawke the Worst Hamlet Ever?

I rented Ethan Hawke's Hamlet over the holidays.  In it, King Hamlet's ghost is doomed to inhabit a Pepsi One machine. Hamlet mutters soliloquies while browsing the action aisle of the local BlockbusterIt's unfortunate the film itself lacks the creativity shown the product placement.   
above: King Hamlet's ghost disappearing into a Pepsi One machine
 
Luhrmann's Romeo+Juliet creates a mythical/modern Verona filled with garish elements and its own street slang.  By contrast Hawke's Hamlet is set in a corporate office called Denmark Corp.  Guess what?  Shakespearian language sounds affected in a corporate office in Manhattan.  The actors respond to this problem by understating and even whispering their lines.  It isn't really their fault.  Except for Hawke.  It is his Hamlet, and his fault, though some awful decisions were made behind his back, such as combining Hamlet's character with Holden Caulfield's.  Why dress up a 30-something actor like a discontented prep-school dropout?  Is Hawke the most instantly dislikable Hamlet?  Worse than Mel?  Hawke should have stuck with Puck.

"Horrible, horrible," King Hamlet's ghost groans before disappearing back inside his Coke machine.  Excuse me, make that Pepsi One.

Related post: Wu Tang Hamlet 

Lucky link: Gif of Hawke's Hamlet

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