Even though Hawke’s version of Hamlet is set in modern times, it’s still as lively as the other versions. Here is a clip from the movie that gave me a different perspective on the characters and the play. (Act I Scene 2)
What I like most about this clip is that even without the secondary characters talking, you still get small hints as to what is happening in the movie. You get a sense of Ophelia’s concern for Hamlet, Laertes’s disapproval of Ophelia’s relationship with Hamlet, and Polonius’s suck up attitude toward Claudius (That enthusiastic shout and clap he gives at the end). For some reason after reading the first act, I didn’t get the feeling that Laertes was completely mature. Then in this version where Liev Schreiber /Laertes wears a suit and calmly makes Ophelia listen to Claudius, I saw a caring/mature brother. Another thing that stood out too me is Ophelia’s portrayal as being so innocent. After watching this clip and knowing what happens to her after reading the play, I feel even worse for her. I felt that with her cute note for Hamlet and her following her brother’s order makes her seem more fragile.
Then there’s Polonius’s little glance at Ophelia’s note. Act 3 scene 1 raises many questions about Polonius’s parenting because he let’s Ophelia be humiliated by Hamlet in front of the King. Then, when we watch this scene and see that Polonius is a little curious about the note, I thought he looked quite concerened. However, another implication that can be made from the little act is that Polonius likes prying into Ophelia’s life.
One thing that I found quite interesting was the staging. This is supposed to be the first scene where Hamlet is introduced. By making Hawke/Hamlet’s posture gloomy and also making him dress differently from everyone else, the scene effectively delivers the idea that Hamlet starts out pretty depressed. Hawke doesn’t even need to say anything for viewers to get the gist. Another great thing is making this scene modernized into a sort of press conference. This helps viewers who are not as familiar with the play to easily understand the rivalry between Claudius and Fortinbras, as well as understand the position of power Claudius has.
The staging gave a new and different outlook on this scene. The choice in actors gave me new perspectives on the characters. Above all the little actions that required no words allowed viewers to get a sense of what’s happening in the play. After watching this clip I definitely wanted to watch the whole Hawke version of Hamlet.