Road Rash Reviews

Hamlet (2024) DVD, Blu-ray and Digital Review****-

Cert 12 | 117 mins | 2024

4 star modern take on a timeless classic.

This latest incarnation of Shakespeare’s classic revenge tale/tragedy is directed and adapted for the screen by Sean Mathias (Bent). It is filmed entirely in and around the Theatre Royal, Windsor.

This 2024 version sees Ian McKellen reprise his role as the title character, alongside members of the critically acclaimed stage cast.

“Angels and ministers of grace defend us. Bring with thee airs from heaven or blasts from hell? Be your intents wicked or charitable?”

This familiar story sees Hamlet (Ian McKellen – The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, Richard III), recently bereaved following the death of his father, the King of Denmark. His uncle Claudius (Jonathan Hyde – Titanic, The Mummy) has taken the throne and also married his mother Gertrude (Jenny Seagrove – Local Hero, Nate and Hayes), much to his consternation.

He is visited by the ghost of his father (Francesca Annis – Dune, Shifty), who tells him that he was murdered by Claudius. Enraged, Hamlet feigns madness while he investigates, even spurning his sweetheart Ophelia (Alis Wyn Davies), much to the annoyance of her brother Laertes (Emmanuella Cole) and father Polonius (Steven Berkoff – A Clockwork Orange, Octopussy).

What follows is the age old quest for revenge as he descends further into madness.

“Murder most foul. Strange and unnatural.”

This is a truly remarkable adaptation, very cleverly filmed and making excellent use of an interesting location. It’s framed in a modern setting, with familiar clothes and set dressing, but the language remains the same.

All of the acting performances are superb, and no-one delivers Hamlet quite like Ian McKellen, who makes the words seem contemporary. I also especially enjoyed the performance of Alis Wyn Davies, who delivers much of ophelia’s words in song, accompanied by acoustic guitar.

It is a bold move to film it in a theatre and yet not on the stage, acknowledging that it is a stage play, but at the same time denying it.

If you are looking to try out Shakespeare for the first time, this may not be for you, Hamlet isn’t really starter level and the staging may be confusing to someone who isn’t familiar with the story. Fans, however, will absolutely love this magnificent new version of a classic play.

“Thus was I, of life, of crown, of Queen, at once dispatched. Cut off even in the blossom of my sins.”

Hamlet is available to own on DVD, Blu-ray and Digital from 8th April 2024.

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DirectorSean Mathias
AuthorWilliam Shakespeare
GenreDrama, tragedy
StarringIan McKellan, Alis Wyn Davies, Jonathan Hyde, Jenny Seagrove
Available to buy on : Own Hamlet on DVD Own Hamlet on Blu-Ray
Category: Blu-ray, Digital, dvd, film, Review