There are various ways in which Shakespeare, hell everything in life and fiction, can be interpreted and performed. However, when it comes to Hamlet, one just can not imagine an aggressive Hamlet, and Mel Gibson’s version of Hamlet is precisely that. If Hamlet had been aggressive, there might not have been a tragedy.
However, apart from him, every other character is well cast in this 1990 version of Hamlet directed by Franco Zefferelli. Helena Bonham Carter as Ophelia and Glenn Close as Gertrude are redeeming. And when the content is so marvelous, even otherwise poorly performed or conceived versions also have some merit to them. I’ve heard good things about Sir Laurence Olivier’s 1948 and 1996 version of Kenneth Branagh. It will be interesting to see some new age actors trying their hands at Shakespeare on screen. The possibility of Vishal Bhardwaj making his own Indian interpretation is also exciting.
Hamlet’s the Prince of Denmark finds his father dead and his mother hastily married to his uncle who now occupies his father’s throne. His father’s ghost (perhaps his own conscience) tells Hamlet of how his father was murdered. He feigns madness in order to discover the truth behind it all and delays taking revenge and in the process loses everything.
It is easy to think of revenge, but not so easy to take lives for a sensitive soul. Pretending to be mad and slowly drifting into madness play an important part in the process. Aren’t we all mad at some point of time in our lives. It is really fascinating how Shakespeare got intricacies of human relationships, emotions and politics right even before it was so widely spread out…