Rated: PG Reviewed by: Frank and Chris Release date: December 19, 1990 Released by: Warner Brothers
The funeral of Prince Hamlet's father opens this Franco Zeffirelli version of Hamlet. After a mere two months, when Hamlet's mother, Gertrude (Glenn Close), is betrothed to his uncle, Claudius (Alan Bates), Hamlet slips increasingly from melancholia into madness.
Shakespeare's tragedy is summed up by Claudius, "When sorrows come, the come not by single spies, but by battalions."
Hamlet's dreary castle setting is brightened by sunny outdoor scenes of Denmark and the acting by the prestigious cast (Close, Holm and Scofield) is notable. Alan Bates, who isn't seen enough in American films, is terrific as Claudius and Helena Bonham-Carter is wonderful as the delicate beauty Ophelia. However, I was pleasantly surprised by Mel Gibson. I expected "Mad Max" and instead, I saw an able and good portrayal of the Danish Prince. The intensity Gibson invokes as he attacks his mother in her bedroom, intent on killing her, is very impressive.