Saturday, March 22, 2014

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead

You know how in some movies, there are those characters that are mostly off to the side yet they always get the viewer's attention? Sometimes you wonder what those characters are like when they're not onscreen. How about a spin-off featuring them?

That's what Tom Stoppard apparently had in mind when he wrote Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead back in the late 1960s. Fast forward to 1990, and Stoppard adapted his play for the silver screen. And it's certainly an amusing adaptation.

For those rusty when it comes to the works of William Shakespeare, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern were supporting characters in Hamlet. In Stoppard's work, it's the other way around. Most of the major characters of Hamlet are merely backdrop for the majority of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead. And it's certainly an interesting concept.

And with any good British production, you need the right actors. Gary Oldman and Tim Roth work off each other hilariously. Amongst the supporting actors, you have Richard Dreyfuss stealing every scene he's in and Iain Glen (yep, Ser Jorah Mormont himself) doing very much of the same. (It usually doesn't take much to amuse me.)

Anyway, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead is very ambitious during its philosophical moments even if they don't entirely work some of the time. Still, Stoppard managed to make an amusing film. That alone is worthy of a pass from me. (Well, that and Oldman and Roth are priceless.)

My Rating: ****

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