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Hamlet

Director/Adapter: Kenneth Branagh
Director of Photography: Alex Thomson
Editor: Neil Farrell
Music: Patrick Doyle
Production Designer: Tim Harvey
Producer: David Barron
Castle Rock; PG-13; 238 minutes
Release: 12/96
Cast: Richard Attenborough, Brian Blessed, Kenneth Branagh, Richard Briers, Julie Christie, Billy Crystal, Judi Dench, Gérard Depardieu, Reece Dinsdale, Nicholas Farrell, John Gielgud, Rosemary Harris, Charlton Heston, Derek Jacobi, Jack Lemmon, John Mills, Simon Russell Beale, Rufus Sewell, Timothy Spall, Robin Williams and Kate Winslet

It was no small feat putting Shakespeare's magnum opus on the big screen, a task that requires four full hours. But it works, and Branagh's Hamlet emerges as the best, truest Shakespeare adaptation in recent memory. Branagh in the title role is spectacular, capturing Hamlet's grief, rage and remorse but never dominating his supporting cast. Winslet makes a passionate Ophelia; Christie gives elegance to the tragic Gertrude; Jacobi is a deceitfully suave Claudius; and Heston impresses as the Player King. If Hamlet shows a flaw, it's in the effects that wash over the action. Excuse Branagh's excesses; he's the only contemporary filmmaker who plays so well with the Bard. If four hours is too much, a two-and-a-half hour version is heading for the cineplex near you.


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