Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead DVD Review

rag1Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are two losers and have a minimal side role in one of history’s greatest plays….. yes that one with the Denmark guy and his father problem. They are caught up in things but always stuck in a reality that is not quite what it should be. A realness that is fake. A play is going on and it is being charted by them but they cannot understand what it is all about. We follow it sometimes but only when they are onstage. The rest of the time we live in a realm of absurd lives. They are transfixed by a coin that only comes up heads. They are absorbed with death and¬†wander around the castle, trying to catch up. Sometimes with themselves and other times with each other. Who is Hamlet they ask themselves and why is it that we are always talking about such a man that we do not understand. Life it would seem for these two is a game that has loaded dice and they are destined for its conclusion.

ragheadGreatness is often cast from greater things. So is the case with this little slice of comedy gold. It comes from the bard and he is a master of the divine. Divine in the sense that he understood the human better than any other mortal might. This fact is not lost on the creators of this absurd gem of postmodern, revisionist art. Based on a play and felt with the touch of a stage director. It flows along like a magic impulse and I felt that its previous criticism was empty headed and weak. The film is clever, funny, touching and has two great central performances. Oldman is brilliant as a dumb but likeable idiot. Roth has a great manner about him and makes his presence balanced and witty. It also has great poise in its characters and maintains an air of sarcasm in its execution. This is needed to get to its heart and its very centre. Stoppard is to be praised like no other in his ability to construct and craft a work of this quality from another’s. Very much more so if that other, is the universal other of time immortal.

rag3DVD has good extras and the Stoppard interview is enlightening. The other cast give good feedback but Stoppard is the core of why this film is magical and so his voice is to be searched out…

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