Based on one of William Shakespeare’s most famous plays, 1948’s Hamlet was Directed by and starred Laurence Olivier. The film became somewhat of a Marmite film, winning four Oscars including Best Picture but being criticized by some for leaving out vital aspects and characters from Shakespeare’s text. I had never seen a production of Hamlet until today but despite being forced to read Shakespeare at school in the most uninspiring ways possible, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the several plays I’ve seen as an adult. I am in no way an expert on the bard but what I’ve seen, I’ve loved. It’s with a heavy heart then that I have to report that I did not enjoy Olivier’s interpretation of Hamlet and found it to be one of the dullest movie watching experiences of my year so far.
I’d class Hamlet as a good film which I did not enjoy, much as The Expendables is a bad film which I did enjoy. One of the difficulties when one is watching a Shakespeare play or film is the language barrier. Written in four hundred year old English, the words and phrases are very different to my modern mother tongue and it can be difficult to extract the meaning from the text. I’ve never really struggled before with the likes of Richard III, Romeo and Juliet, Coriolanus and Much Ado About Nothing but here much of the language washed over me. I think this was because of two things. Firstly I wasn’t interested and secondly the actor’s voices reverberated around the sound stage causing echoes which bumped into the following words.