In 2010 the DVD version of “Hamlet” starring David Tennant and Oliver winner, Patrick Stewart, made its way to the United States. It was filmed in 2009 in England with an 18 day filming schedule. This version of “Hamlet” has the same dialogue as the play, but with modern dress, props and set.
Film, Stage and TV actor, David Tennant (“Doctor Who,” “Harry Potter,” “Broadchurch”) stars as the main character Hamlet. Tennant did a great job with his portrayal of this tragic, revenge seeking character. His portrayal made it easier to tell the difference between “mad man” Hamlet and “normal” Hamlet. Tennant’s “To Be or Not To Be” soliloquy was one of his most powerful moments in the movie. The only thing that is bothersome is that he seemed to break the forth wall in a few of his soliloquies, though he did it as if he was speaking to the audience. Overall his acting and portrayal of Hamlet was amazing.
Patrick Stewart (“Star Trek: The Next Generation”) portrayed two roles in this version of the movie, the ghost of Hamlet Sr., and Claudius, which won him the Oliver for “Best Supporting Actor.” His portrayal of Claudius was amazing and it is easy to tell from the start that Claudius is the villain due to very subtle hints on Stewart’s part. He does not appear as the Ghost very much, but he is haunting when he does. Stewart did a great job portraying two opposite characters, one the victim and the other the villain. Stewart was worthy of that Olivier award.
Penny Downie as Gertrude was great. She portrayed Gertrude as a concerned mother, who was terrified for and possibly of her son. Oliver Ford Davis did a fairly good job as Polonius, and like Tennant when he spoke at times, broke the fourth wall. Mariah Gale did a great job as Ophelia, especially when the character goes mad with grief and confusion. This movie had great casting overall.
What impressed me was the use of modern dress and props while the actors spoke the Shakespearian lines of the play. David Tennant really impressed me especially because I could tell when Hamlet was acting crazy and when he was himself. Tennant also used great facial expressions and body language that made it easier to tell what Hamlet was saying and thinking. Personally I think Tennant’s years in “Doctor Who” paid off to help his portrayal as a mad man and a man overcome with grief.