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(2000) (Ethan Hawke, Kyle MacLachlan) (R)

Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Tense Scenes
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Mild None Moderate None Minor
Smoking Tense Family
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Drama: Believing his own family to be responsible for his father's sudden death, a young man sets into motion a series of vengeful events that have serious repercussions for everyone involved.
It's the year 2000 and a young man, Hamlet (ETHAN HAWKE), has returned home to New York City none too happy that his uncle, Claudius (KYLE MACLACHLAN), has married his widowed mother, Gertrude (DIANE VENORA), and assumed control of the family's Denmark Corporation, all just two months after the sudden death of his father (SAM SHEPARD).

Hamlet's suspicions grow after his friend, Horatio (KARL GEARY), informs him that he and others have seen his father's ghost. They continue to increase when he then meets and speaks with the apparition who informs Hamlet that he was murdered by Claudius. As such, Hamlet's ensuing strange behavior causes others to think he's gone mad, including Claudius' trusted advisor, Polonius (BILL MURRAY), who not only informs Claudius and Gertrude of such, but also orders that his daughter, Ophelia (JULIA STILES), no longer see Hamlet.

That further complicates matters as Hamlet sets into motion a plan to trap his uncle, but that ultimately results in Polonius' death. As a result, his son, Laertes (LIEV SCHREIBER), vows revenge upon Hamlet who's also having to deal with Rosencrantz (STEVE ZAHN) and Guildenstern (DECHEN THURMAN), two men sent by Claudius to observe him. As the various involved parties then set out to enact their revenge upon others who've wronged them, nothing short of tragedy follows.

Some of the cast members may draw in some teens, but the thought of seeing a filmed adaptation of what they may have had to read in class might not have them knocking down the doors to do so.
For some violence.
  • ETHAN HAWKE plays the somewhat moody, murdered man's son who vows revenge upon those responsible for his father's death and thus creates brand new sets of problems and tragedies.
  • KYLE MACLACHLAN plays his uncle who kills his brother, marries his former sister-in-law and usurps control of the family corporation. He also plots to have Hamlet killed.
  • DIANE VENORA plays Hamlet's mother who remarries her former brother-in-law just weeks after her husband's sudden death.
  • BILL MURRAY plays Claudius' trusted advisor who tries to undermine Hamlet's credibility.
  • SAM SHEPARD plays the ghost of Hamlet's murdered father who advises his son of what has occurred.
  • JULIA STILES plays Polonius' distraught daughter and love interest of Hamlet who ends up committing suicide.
  • LIEV SCHREIBER plays her hotheaded brother who vows revenge after several deaths in his family.
  • STEVE ZAHN and DECHEN THURMAN play two of Hamlet's "friends" who are actually working for his uncle by spying upon Hamlet.


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.

    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).

    The following is a brief summary of the content found in this R-rated adaptation of Shakespeare's classic tragedy. The rating comes from violence that includes several people being shot to death (with some bloody results), others being poisoned, and some non-lethal assaults. Some of those scenes (and others) may be unsettling or tense to some viewers, and the perpetrators of such action obviously have bad attitudes (especially the man who murders his brother so that he can have his wife and their corporation).

    Profanity is rather light, while some non-explicit, sexually related comments are made (in Shakespearean prose), some behavior is observed, and we see what appears to be glimpses of footage from some film showing parts of a sexual encounter (although it's not explicit).

    Meanwhile, some characters drink and smoke, while the murderous activity leads to some tense family moments (grieving over deaths, etc.). Should you still be concerned about the film's content for yourself or anyone else in your home, you may want to take a closer look at our more detailed content listings for more specific examples of what occurs in the film.

  • It looks as if Hamlet has some empty beer bottles in his office, and we later see various bottles of liquor in his place.
  • Hamlet has a beer in a bar along with Rosencrantz and Guildenstern (and it appears that they've all had several). They then have liquor as well.
  • Claudius and Gertrude have champagne.
  • Hamlet gives Ophelia a beer and drinks one himself.
  • Gertrude has what could be a drink (although that's not for certain).
  • Gertrude has a drink and appears somewhat drunk.
  • A person on a plane has a drink.
  • Gertrude has wine while others have champagne/wine.
  • We see various bottles of liquor around the area of a pending fencing duel and Claudius has some wine (and poisons another glass of it).
  • A person who's just been shot holds his hand over his face and both are very bloody. Moments later, we see blood on the back of this person's head (seen several times) and on the floor after they've died.
  • Hamlet has some blood on his hands and on his clothes as he drags a dead body down a hallway (that's covered with a bloody sheet) and leaves some blood on the floor.
  • Two men have blood on them after struggling over a gun that's been fired twice.
  • Another person who's been shot smears some of his own blood on a handrail as he falls.
  • Claudius has both for having poisoned his brother and married his former sister-in-law and then plotting to have Hamlet killed.
  • Rosencrantz and Guildenstern spy on Hamlet for Claudius.
  • Ophelia agrees to be wired to record proof that Hamlet is crazy (which is what everyone believes).
  • It's possible some skittish viewers might find scenes related to and/or images of the ghost of Hamlet's father as unsettling (although none of it's played out in a scary fashion).
  • Scenes listed under "Violence" and "Blood/Gore" may also be tense or unsettling to some viewers.
  • We see a video image of Hamlet holding a handgun to his head in various suicidal manners (to the temple, in his mouth, under his chin, etc.).
  • Hamlet rushes into an office, prepared to shoot someone, but the office is empty. Later, he drives Claudius around while again holding and then aiming the gun, but he doesn't use it.
  • Hearing someone hiding inside a closet, Hamlet fires his gun once through the glass and we hear a body fall inside the closet. That person then comes out, holding his hand to his head and both are very bloody (and that person then dies).
  • Hamlet and Laertes having a fencing duel that leads to more tension and some lethal violence.
  • Handguns: Carried and/or used to threaten, wound or kill various people. See "Violence" for details.
  • Handgun: Seen in a video shot of Hamlet holding it to his head in various suicidal manners (to the temple, in his mouth, under his chin, etc.) as well as being fired in a clip from an old movie.
  • Fencing swords: Used by Hamlet and Laertes in a duel.
  • Poisons: Used by Claudius to kill several people.
  • Phrases: "Bastard."
  • We see a video image of Hamlet holding a handgun to his head in various suicidal manners (to the temple, in his mouth, under his chin, etc.).
  • Ophelia makes something of a suicidal leap into a swimming pool, but we then see that she's only imagined doing that. Later, however, we learn that she's succeeded in a later, similar attempt.
  • None.
  • A moderate amount of ominous and suspenseful music plays in several scenes.
  • None.
  • At least 4 uses of "Oh God" and 1 use of "God" as exclamations.
  • There is some dialogue about incestuous sheets (presumably meaning between Gertrude and Claudius).
  • Laertes makes a comment to Ophelia about all of her "chaste treasure" opened to someone else.
  • Claudius and Gertrude passionately kiss (she's in a negligee of sorts) and she starts to undo his shirt. We then briefly see Claudius climb on top of Gertrude (and ending up between her legs).
  • Hamlet and Ophelia kiss and he tries putting his hand under her top, but then stops when he finds the wiretap that she's wearing.
  • Hamlet comments about the thought, "to lie between a maid's legs."
  • During Hamlet's film intended to accuse his uncle, we see (among many other things) some very brief shots that show two people involved in some wild French kissing and then apparently of a man having sex from behind a woman (although this isn't seen in full and isn't terribly explicit).
  • We see a classic painting that shows a reclined, nude woman who shows full frontal nudity.
  • Horatio smoke several times (a woman with him smokes once), as does Hamlet's father, while Claudius smokes once and we see an image of actor James Dean smoking in a movie playing on TV.
  • Hamlet has returned home after the death of his father and isn't happy about it, nor the fact that his mother has remarried his uncle so soon after his father's death (and they have a tense encounter).
  • Laertes and Ophelia must deal with their father's death, which includes Ophelia eventually killing herself (and there's a funeral scene related to that).
  • The old saying of two wrongs not making a right (the efforts of several to seek revenge result in more tragedy).
  • Although it happens off-screen and before the story starts, Hamlet's father is murdered via being poisoned.
  • We see what looks like footage of wartime explosions playing on a computer monitor.
  • We see several explosions on a TV monitor in a video store (from a movie), as well as a person being knocked backwards and a motorcycle being on fire.
  • Gertrude slaps Hamlet and in turn, he throws her to the floor and then holds her head up to a door.
  • Hearing someone hiding inside a closet, Hamlet fires his gun once through the glass and we hear a body fall inside the closet. That person then comes out, holding his hand to his head and both are very bloody (and that person then dies).
  • Hamlet tries to rush out of a Laundromat, but Claudius' men push him back and against a dryer. Claudius then punches Hamlet in the gut.
  • Laertes grabs Claudius by the throat.
  • We learn that Ophelia has drowned herself (from a distance we see her body floating in a fountain).
  • Laertes and Hamlet briefly struggle and end up rolling down a hill. Laertes then briefly tries strangling Hamlet.
  • Laertes and Hamlet struggle over a gun and we then hear two shots that wound both.
  • A person dies from drinking poisoned wine.
  • Hamlet shoots a man dead.

  • Reviewed April 27, 2000 / Posted May 19, 2000

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