There are very few actors who could carry the risks of another cinematic reworking of Hamlet in an age when many younger film fans think the name refers to a small cigar. Mel Gibson and Glenn Close are two such stars, and, though the name of Franco Zeffirelli is unlikely to mean much to anyone under the age of 30, it must have been the Italian director's cultish Romeo and Juliet, rather than his recent string of cinematic no-nos such as Endless Love and The Champ, that soothed the backers. It's a surprisingly successful venture, decked out in Anglo-Saxon styles and with a brooding, robust castle setting which oozes horse muck. Gibson never gets much beyond the antic disposition and sports some bizarre curls, but Close gambols lustily as Gertrude, Helena Bonham-Carter makes a splendidly under-age Ophelia and, in other supporting roles, both a boozy-looking Bates and a pompous-sounding Ian Holm add great worth to the parts of Claudius and Polonius. Zeffirelli's darting, aerial, I-spy perspective more often adds to, rather than repeats, the effect of the verse, and all the cuts (including the opening battlements sequence) are eminently justified in the cause of narrative thrust.
Cast and crew
|Screenwriter:||Christopher De Vore, Franco Zeffirelli|