Rozencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead (about says it all, really)


Rosencrantz (Gary Oldman): Whatever became of the moment when one first knew about death? There must have been one. A moment. In childhood. When it first occurred to you that you don’t go on forever. Must have been shattering. Stamped into one’s memory. And yet, I can’t remember it. It never occurred to me at all. We must be born with an intuition of mortality. Before we know the word for it. Before we know that there are words. Out we come, bloodied and squawling, with the knowledge that for all the points of the compass, there’s only one direction. And time is its only measure.

For those of you who have not had the pleasure of watching the movie Rozencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead (or the play for that matter) I highly recommend it. This amazing, humorous and often profound movie is from 1990 and stars Gary Oldman, Richard Dreyfuss and Tim Roth. (All exceedingly talented actors, in my book)(nvolume) It follows the lives of two minor characters from the play Hamlet. (you guessed it, although, let’s face it, I haven’t even mentioned Shakespeare or Hamlet in quite a while, so I’m more than overdue) (and you’ve been exceptionally fortunate!)

In the movie, the play (Hamlet) is taking place around these characters, and as you watch and they stumble about trying to find their way (and you along with them, oftentimes) these two unremarkable fellows encounter and grapple with such enigmatic and philosophical themes as Life, Death, Physics, Fate and simply trying to remember their own names. (Since Hamlet wrote them as so inconsequential that none of the characters in the play, including Hamlet, could remember their names)

As the passage above illustrates, amidst the horrendously poor Shakespearian acting (which is just another ploy of the brilliant writer of this play turned movie, Tom Stoppard) and the antics of these two far from infallible blokes, there is a generous sprinkling of irreverence, thought-provoking cinematography, and insightful soliloquies that often make you want to press pause and spend a moment (or seven) considering.

And for those of you who are Who’s Line is it Anyway, fans there is also the original Questions Game which is actually played out on a tennis court. (Here’s a snippet just to entice you)

Rosencrantz: Do you want to play questions?
Guildenstern (Tim Roth) : How do you play that?
Rosencrantz: You have to ask a question.
Guildenstern: Statement. One – Love.
Rosencrantz: Cheating.
Guildenstern: How?
Rosencrantz: I haven’t started yet.
Guildenstern: Statement. Two – Love.
Rosencrantz: Are you counting that?
Guildenstern: What?
Rosencrantz: Are you counting that?
Guildenstern: Foul. No repetition. Three – Love and game.
Rosencrantz: I’m not going to play if you’re going to be like that.

The movie is overflowing with Laurel and Hardy-esque wit and absurdity, as well, that will leave a smile on your face long after you’ve stopped laughing, shaking your head, and/or finished watching. It’s a face-paced, in- your- face, make- you- turn- your- head- to- the- side- questioningly- and- wonder- what- exactly- is- going- on, astonishing mingling of words that is one of my favourite movies, ever. One of those I can watch over and over, again and again and never grow tired of (there I go ending with a preposition again…sorry!)…of which I never grow tired. (better!)

Actor (Richard Dreyfuss): Audiences know what they expect and that is all they are prepared to believe in.

Image found on en.wikipedia


Having Perused, Let Your Thoughts Show; and in Receiving them, Thank You Ever So!

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