Thrones and Empires

 

Looking at the cast (Helen Mirren, Christian Bale, Kate Beckinsale) you would think this was some sort of epic movie you may have missed at the cinema, that isn’t the case as this film is almost 20 years old but let it put you off.

It’s a serious historical version of the ‘Prince of Jutland’ story from Denmark which a certain William Shakespeare adapted into a little known play called ‘Hamlet’.  Gabriel Bryne sets the scene straight away as he plots to murder his brother and become King.  This he does along with killing one of the King’s sons, the other son played by the future Batman fakes madness and plots his revenge.
The film has a complicated history, never finished by it’s director, then edited and scored by others.  It popped up on DVD here in the UK about ten years ago and is known throughout the world by countless different names.  Watching it now seems strange as Bale and Beckinsale look like they have just left school and Gollum himself, Andy Serkis crops up in an early role. It does at times look a bit cheap and I couldn’t make my mind up if a lot of the ‘comedy’ was intentional or was it just the way it turned out.  It is weird seeing Bale barking like a dog and fighting the legendary Brian Glover (who passed away in 1997) in one of the worst fights I have ever seen.
However, I found the film quite pleasant and it is very well acted by the leads, although Beckinsale is a bit hopeless and its always nice to see Brian Cox in anything, this time as a Duke.  Not too bad at all.
  • Starring  Helen Mirren  Gabriel Bryne  Christian Bale  Brain Cox  Tom Wilkinson
  • Director Gabriel Axel
  • Distributor 101 Films