11 July 2016

Hamlet Goes Business

Hamlet Goes Business ( Hamlet Liikemaailmassa) 1987
  • Director: Aki Kaurismäki
  • Based on the play by Shakespeare
  • Cast: Pirkka-Pekka Petelius, Esko Salminen, Kati Outinen, Elina Salo, Kari Väänänen
  • Personal “oh yeah him/her” reaction, i.e. have seen this actor in:
    • Esko Salminen – Den bästa av mödrarna
    • Kati Outinen – Mannen utan minnen, Moln på drift
    • Elina Salo – Mannen utan minnen, Moln på drift
    • Kari Väänänen – Leningrad Cowboys Go America
  • Why? Hamlet
  • Seen: 9 July 2016      

       Poison in a drink. Passionate stolen kisses. Death! Young Hamlet inherits the business but is said to be too stupid to run things. His uncle Klaus will do that. Gertrude tells Hamlet that his father was a cold-hearted tyrant. She loves Klaus and will marry him. Hamlet is upset. The father’s ghost comes and goes. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are summoned by Klaus, who plans on buying the rubber duck factory from Swedish tycoon Wallenberg (a real person in the real life Rockefeller-like tycoon family who runs the Swedish economy).
       And so it goes.
       Filmed in black and white, with sly humour and clever story twists this is, as expected, bizarre. But not very. And Hamlet is thoroughly unlikeable.
       Is it a parody? A melodrama? An homage to Shakespeare and Olivier?
       Whatever it’s meant to be, it doesn’t work for me. The blues and rock music give it a distinctly Finnish flavour but that doesn’t help much. It’s not funny enough, or tragic enough, or weird enough to do Shakespeare justice. Changing the ending inspires a big, ‘Why?’ This is not Kaurismäki’s best. It’s a disappointment.

2 * of 5

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