Hamlet Meta-Treated Twice Over in Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Undead
Hamlet gets the meta-treatment in Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Undead, a hipster vampire farce that layers genre goofs over a twisted re-staging of the play. That a similarif less gruesomespin-off already exists (Tom Stoppards Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead) only adds to the films antic mash-up vibe. Doesnt anyone make anything up anymore? complains Julian (Jake Hoffman), after learning that Theo (John Ventimiglia), a distinctly wan writer who has commissioned him to direct his Hamlet remix, has put an autobiographical spin on the material. All of the riffs are twice and thrice removed, but the effect is lively rather than tiresome, largely on the strength of game performances, Sean Lennons atmospheric score, and writer/director Jordan Gallands clear affection for his sources. The Byzantine plot has Theo, a Romanian letch and stone vampire, staging his version of Hamlet in the hopes of luring the prince himselfwho broke the vampires curse and has been curing the undead for centuriesthrough the veils of time to finally settle their score. Only the director is safe, and when he starts losing cast members (most memorably a fully committed Kris Lemche in the lead role), some serious stake-driving actioninvolving Ralph Macchio as a mooky boyfriend and Jeremy Sisto as a chatty detectivemust be taken.
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