Entertainment Weekly

Subscribe

Stay Connected

Subscribe

Advertise With Us

Learn More

Skip to content

Article

Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead

Posted on

Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead

type:
Movie
Current Status:
In Season
mpaa:
PG
performer:
Gary Oldman, Tim Roth, Richard Dreyfuss
director:
Tom Stoppard
distributor:
Buena Vista Home Video
author:
Tom Stoppard
genre:
Comedy

We gave it a C

”Words, words…they’re all we have to go on,” moans Guildenstern (Tim Roth) to Rosencrantz (Gary Oldman) in Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead, Tom Stoppard’s film version of his famous and fatuous play, a ping-pong of absurdist dialogue by the two ”friends” brought to Elsinore to spy on Hamlet. By the end of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern’s not-so-excellent adventure, the viewer feels poisoned and worn out by Stoppard’s patrician puns and amusing anachronisms. Who’d have thought brilliance could be so boring?

There are compensations in this pompous exercise, chief among them Richard Dreyfuss as the grandiloquently bad lead actor of the traveling players. Another is the arresting visual quality that Stoppard, who also directed, occasionally brings to the world of ”Hamlet,” where ”the bad end unhappily and the good end unluckily.” But the smugness of the material negates these virtues, as well as the two lead performances, in what is essentially Nintendo for intellectual twits. C

Comments