[personal profile] f4f3
When, I'd argue, it's a Movie Theatre.
I went off to see the NT Live broadcast of Hamlet last week in a cinema.

I've seen a lot of Hamlet's over the years, live and on film, and this was one of the best. I thought the Cumbersnatch was excellent, the rest of the cast universally up to scratch, and the whole damn thing was audible and well spoken. One of the things that I didn't like about the recent film version of MacBeth was that for long stretches I could only barely hear it - the dialogue was given mostly in a monotone, and quite often in a low monotone. This production was meant to be heard, not just seen, and the language was spoken with such drive that the meaning was always clear.

The set design was also pretty awesome, with the (metaphorical) fireworks at the end of Act One very well done.

And as a viewing experience, it didn't work for me at all.

This was a full blown theatrical production, and an excellent one, but I wasn't in a theatre audience. Cumberbatch did not make the same connection with me as a stage bound Hamlet that Fassbinder made with me as a (mumbling, grimey) MacBeth. Mostly, I suspect, because he wasn't trying to. As the villain in the last Star Trek movie, Cumberbatch held me from the first moment he appeared (ok, and less so as those moments accumulated). I kept expecting to feel the connection I do for actors on a stage, not a screen, and it lifted me out of the immersive nature of a performance as if it was happening behind glass.

Which it was,

So, interesting, well done, and ultimately unsatisfying (and much more expensive than a normal cinema ticket).

I know this must be a well-worn problem by now, especially for Opera fans. But it seemed worse than, say, the movie of The Wall I watched the other week, or other concert movies. And I don't know why that is.

When is a movie not a movie? 
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