***½/**** Image B+ Sound B+
starring Ethan Hawke, Kyle MacLachlan, Diane Venora, Liev Schrieber
screenplay by Michael Almereyda, based on the play by William Shakespeare
directed by Michael Almereyda
by Bill Chambers This review of Michael Almereyda's Hamlet has long gestated, and the good thing is, the film does not suffer the ravages of memory. My expectations for this modern-dress Shakespeare adaptation were low enough that I presumed its impact would be short-term at best (the play will always transcend approach and performance to a certain degree), having been effectively show-stopped by Kenneth Branagh's definitively faithful take of 1996. Prior to spinning the DVD, I also internally debated Almereyda's talked-about corporate setting, a milieu that would seem a better fit for the political backstabbing of "Macbeth" or "Julius Caesar".