Sight and Sound - 05/01/1991
"...Both leads stand up honourably, with some solid, unshowy acting, to a cluster of high-caliber British Shakespeareans..."
USA Today - 12/19/1990
"...Given how intellectually the role is usually played, Gibson's portrayal is personal and original..." -- 3 1/2 out of 4 stars
New York Times - 12/19/1990
"...Fluid and atmospheric....Gibson is a serious and compelling Hamlet for today..."
Sight and Sound - 01/18/1991
"...It's exquisitely designed, by Dante Ferretti, and lushly photographed....Gibson shows Shakespearean tools: princely bearing, a resonant and supple voice for verse....He is a creditable Hamlet..."
Empire - 02/01/2009 4 stars out of 5 -- "It proves one of Gibson's best performances, vibrant, crazed, capturing a sense of emotion running riot that the Royal Shakespeare Company tends to damp down."
Acclaimed director Franco Zeffirelli teamed with Mel Gibson for this energetic, earthy adaptation of the classic Shakespeare tragedy. From study abroad, the young Prince of Denmark returns home to find his mother has married his uncle, and his father's ghost is urging him to action; but what action' Gibson brings real gusto to Hamlet's anguish, and makes this full-blooded translation roar with life. Glenn Close, as his mother, and Helena Bonham Carter, as Ophelia, both lend excellent support. This is Shakespeare with teeth; it should please both students and casual filmgoers.
Director Franco Zeffirelli and star Mel Gibson combine their talents for this full-blooded adaptation of the classic tragedy. The movie is a concise, trimmed version of the play, as Hamlet returns to Elsinore to finds his mother married to his uncle and his dead father's ghost demanding vengeance. Shot in Northern Scotland amid actual castles and foggy landscapes, the film has a very realistic, rugged feel courtesy of cinematographer David Watkin. Mel Gibson is superb in the title role, burying his movie star persona within a sulking, sometimes completely unsympathetic performance as the prince. Glenn Close as his mother is also disturbingly real--the two share some scenes that are nearly incestuous in their intensity--and Helena Bonham Carter lends Ophelia the perfect note of otherworldly pain. This is a perfect companion to Zeffirelli's earlier Shakespeare films, TAMING OF THE SHREW and ROMEO & JULIET, and proves that he is a true master of poetry and period realism. Shakespeare fans should be very pleased, and beginners will find no better place to start than this accessible and vibrant adaptation.