Monday, April 11, 2011

II.ii. Rosencrantz & Guildenstern - Hamlet 2000

R&G board Hamlet in a club chronologically after the "To be or not to be" speech. They are played by Steve Zahn (as Rosencrantz) and Dechen Thurman (brother of Uma, as Guildenstern). Hamlet embraces these two wild and crazy friends, initiating a long booze-up. Their idiosyncratic performances soon reveal them to be two different kinds of creep. Rosencrantz is manic, spinning on stools, making karate moves and shouting through the music in a way that Hamlet simply does not. Meanwhile, Guildenstern is on the other end of the scale, listlessly resting his head on Hamlet's shoulder, his sexuality as relaxed as the rest of him. They come off as immature party lads, unable to grasp Hamlet's true nature.

The film retains the banter, spreading it across the night through time cuts, but cuts everything after it. Hamlet does not force these men to confess their allegiance to his parents. There is no "what a piece of work is a man" speech at this point, nor is there discussion of the Players. Indeed, the film does away with the Players and replaces them with actors on film. They are not characters in their own right. From this scene, we immediately move to R&D reporting to the Royals (by phone), a result of this sequence, brought forward editorially for comic effect. That sequence makes it clear he says some of the things he does in the play, if only off-screen. The other effect is to keep 2000's Hamlet a more internal character who might know R&G are spies, but does not tell them he knows.

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