Whatever Kenneth Branagh's motives for filming Hamlet
in its entirety -- recouping his somewhat tarnished reputation as the next Olivier, perhaps -- he's managed to pull off a considerable coup de cinema,
and the result is by turns brilliant, lavish, garish
and awful. Of course, Branagh himself stars as the Danish prince with revenge on his fevered brain, and he's jettisoned yesterday's impotent brooder in favor of Hamlet the manic, peroxide-blond showman. The peculiar thing about Branagh is that while he clearly thinks he wants to challenge his
audience -- and a four-hour, unabridged Hamlet
is certainly a challenge -- he panders incessantly to...