This one was the most effective in my humble opinion because of the thoughtfulness of the setting, actor choices, as well as audio and visual decision made by the director. The overall effect made one feel like you were witnessing a man that truly wasn’t positive he wanted to be alive.
The first moments of the scene set it apart from the others, and made the other two really difficult to compete with the choices made in the film. The first thing it shows is the water. The water was already used earlier. In Act 1 scene 4 Horatio is trying to convince Hamlet to not follow the ghost that seemed to be his father. One of the reasons was that Horatio thought the ghost made lead Hamlet “toward the flood” (49). The camera then begins to tilt toward to reveal that there is a cliff. This is another reference to the same speech Horatio was giving Hamlet; he didn’t want Hamlet to be lead to a “dreadful summit of a cliff” (49). This speech continues to describe how Horatio is concerned that might get drawn “into madness” (49). The reason this is a good speech to make reference to is because this was the moments before Hamlet talked to his dead father, whose death festered within him and is one of the main reason Hamlet is contemplating suicide. Still before any words are said, the back of Hamlet’s head comes into view. Then the camera zooms in onto it. This is a really effective choice because it shows that we are beginning to hear what is going on in Hamlet’s mind, not how’s he acting around other people. Then there is a cut to the front of Hamlet, then back to the water. This is an effective choice because it is showing that Hamlet’s mind is crashing a rushing around like the water.
The music also added to the vibe that was trying to be shown. The first few notes are really slow, controlled and lamenting, which also describe Hamlet throughout his speech. The first notes are also played by violins, which are often associated with sadness. Strings also have the ability to make noise without using breathe; making them less alive sounding depending on how you play them. The waves beating across the cliff can also be heard. The waves are constant, like the pressures that he is being put through at the moment. The waves are creating a chaos in the sounds one can hear. There is a dichotomy created between the random rushing of the waves and the focus of the strings. Next enters in a low brass notes, with a slightly harsh tone. It is another interesting choice. The feel of the music quickly switches to a more hectic pace, mirroring the pace of Hamlet’s thoughts.
The acting was highly effective also. The choice of pace for the words was highly effective for the Hamlet that is suggested by the other elements of the film. Every word is controlled, direct and sad with slight suggestions of anger. This tone is mirrored by the music, as I mentioned before. This Hamlet doesn’t feel crazy at this point. His sadness is apparent, but he seems very controlled with his words, although the way this portion was filmed shows his thoughts are rushing an chaotic.The choice for when the words were spoken and when they were simply heard added a cool texture to the overall piece. Hamlet begins speaking about sleep and this makes the words of simply heard, although the actor is no longer mouthing them. It shows how he is slipping more into his mind, and into a more dream like state. What snapped him out of the talking in his head to the real world was thinking about dreaming. This connect back to act 2 scene 2 when Hamlet says that he “could be bounded in a nutshell, and count myself a king of infinite space-were it not that I have bad dreams”(68). Hamlet associates dreams with a negative feeling and fears what dreams would come should he be forced to dream forever.
This combination of effects made this segment the most effective. There is many references to early parts of the play. There are also suggests of character made by the elements surrounding the character. The actors portrayal is very clear and really focused. This is why I believe this is the most effective clip.