CATEGORIES ReviewsAnyone playing 'Hamlet' is likely to dominate the production, but when a movie star like Jude Law, who comes complete with a tabloid history, takes on the role, he's likely to be all that anyone talks about. In the Broadway production imported from London's Donmar Warehouse theater company, Law's unmelancholy Dane drew mixed reviews, with some critics praising his forceful interpretation, and others accusing him of playing to the cheap seats. Anyone playing 'Hamlet' is likely to dominate the production, but when a movie star like Jude Law, who comes complete with a tabloid history, takes on the role, he's likely to be all that anyone talks about. In the Broadway production imported from London's Donmar Warehouse theater company, Law's unmelancholy Dane drew mixed reviews, with some critics praising his forceful interpretation, and others accusing him of playing to the cheap seats. -- By Tom Conroy
Ben Brantley, The New York Times: "People who ask for a little introspection from the man whose name is a byword for that activity may find it perplexing that this Hamlet never seems to look inward, which means that he never grows up -- or grows, period. When Mr. Law's hyperkinetic Dane announces early that 'I have that within which passeth show,' it is a promise that will not be fulfilled."
Elysa Gardner, USA Today: "His Hamlet is no brooding philosopher/prince; he's an angry young man, a bundle of nerves forever threatening to explode. But Law also captures the more tender feelings and contradictions that make this tortured hero at once elusive and essentially human -- particularly in his soliloquies, which are both muscular and exquisitely lyrical."
Linda Winer, Newsday: "Jude Law has a dashing, high-energy confidence ... The fine actor -- whose love life has been unfairly headlined over his craft -- commands virtually every scene in this downtown-black, modern-dress production ... On the other hand, if you're looking for an ambivalent Hamlet, one who struggles with existential decisions or makes you question his sanity, well, this is likely to feel more like a movie-star vehicle than a provocative interpretation of great conflicted tragedy."
Joe Dziemianowicz, The New York Daily News: "Can a movie star on the stage transcend his film performances and even rise above the gossip pages? The answer is yes when it comes to Jude Law, who's giving a spine-tingling and richly layered performance in a new version of 'Hamlet' that makes you forget about his past roles and bad-boy melodramas."
Elisabeth Vincentelli, The New York Post: "Let's cut to the chase: Jude Law doesn't embarrass himself as Hamlet. Far from it. His take on the sweet prince of Denmark leans toward the 'tortured but forceful' school, as opposed to the 'wishy-washy romantic' one, and he pulls it off with panache."
Frank Scheck, The Hollywood Reporter: "The British actor delivers a stirring, beautifully spoken performance that is as intelligent as it is dynamic. Infusing his turn with highly expressive body language that often garners significant but not obtrusive laughs, he is, quite rightly, the main center of attention."
Peter Marks, The Washington Post: "The approach he's been encouraged to pursue in this modern-dress production...is to assemble his Hamlet as one would a puzzle, out of a million isolated acting pieces ... The portrayal is consistently so literal, it's as if he's working out a character for a culture with only a tangential knowledge of English ... If the verse includes an allusion to heaven, you can bet Law will point to the sky. If Hamlet makes a reference to a jungle animal, sure as shootin' Law turns into one."
Charles McNulty, The Los Angeles Times: "Jude Law may not be the most emotionally piercing or philosophically profound Hamlet, but he brings an admirable balance to this most challenging of Shakespearean roles."
John Simon, Bloomberg News: "Law's interpretation, in accord with director Michael Grandage's intent, is aimed at neophyte audiences lured to the play not only by the star but with the added promise of a thriller liberally sprinkled with yocks. This predicates frantic nonstop action as flashy, frequently jocular and unsubtle as possible."