The Best Patrick Stewart Movie, There’s Only One Choice

By Robert Scucci | Published

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Patrick Stewart has graced us with his acting presence since 1959, and the movie and stage star boasts an extensive filmography. Though he’s most well-known for portraying Captain Jean-Luc Picard in the Star Trek franchise that still prominently features his likeness to this day, we need to draw attention to his Shakespearean talents that are highlighted on the theatrical front, which can be found in the 2009 movie adaptation of Hamlet.

It’s no mystery that Stewart has a life-long passion for Shakespeare, and in this modern-dress adaptation presented by the Royal Shakespeare Company’s television film, it’s evident that the captain is truly in his element with his portrayal of King Claudius.

Patrick Stewart Delivers His Best Performance As King Claudius In Hamlet

If you’re wondering what Hamlet is all about, then we strongly advise reading the Shakespeare play of the same name to familiarize yourself with the overall plot and story before watching this Patrick Stewart movie. Or if you’re intimidated by the complexity of Elizabethan English and heavy use of iambic pentameter found in Shakespeare’s works, then you could just as well watch The Lion King, which boasts striking parallels to the original Shakespeare play despite its obvious deviations from the source material. Both properties involve a family patriarchy meeting their untimely death at the hands of the protagonist’s uncle, and the thirst for revenge that follows.

Hamlet Offers A Modern Day Update On The Shakespearean Work

Patrick Stewart portrays King Claudius in this Shakespeare movie adaptation, and when he’s ultimately killed by the film’s titular character in act five, he appears as a ghost. His calculated delivery is the perfect foil to David Tennant’s Hamlet, as he becomes hellbent on revenge after his father’s murder.

But what makes this Patrick Stewart movie so appealing is the fact that it’s a modern-dress production. In other words, the scenery and fashion is updated to reflect modern time even though the screenplay is faithful to the original source material. This modern-dress method has been successfully utilized in the past, and was flawlessly executed in 1996’s Romeo + Juliet, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes.

Patrick Stewart Is Joined By Fan-Favorite Doctor Who Star David Tennant

The Patrick Stewart-starring Hamlet movie adaptation takes a more subdued approach, and isn’t nearly as in-your-face as Romeo + Juliet, but is a must-see for fans of classic Shakespearean tragedies. Even though Stewart stole the show in many ways, David Tennant has been praised by critics for his harrowing performance of a man who is riddled with guilt, despair, and misery.

Tennant does a superb job feigning insanity as he establishes his revenge plot, and the entire Royal Shakespeare Company delivers an authentic reimagining of one of Shakespeare’s most well-known plays.

Hamlet Utilized A Unique Single Camera Setup

When filmmakers try to adapt an iconic and historically significant play into a movie, the common criticism is that the acting feels phoned in. But given Patrick Stewart’s profound knowledge of and passion for Shakespeare, and the powerhouse performance delivered by David Tennant, this movie keeps you engaged in a way that makes you feel like you’re sitting in a crowded theater and watching the story unfold.

One reason this Patrick Stewart movie maintained an heir of authenticity was how it was shot. The entire production was filmed with a single-camera setup, which is typically used in horror, comedy, and sci-fi properties. Using a single-camera setup is an excellent way to offer cinematic, character-focused footage, and also requires actors to deliver the goods compared to a multi-camera setup, as the latter requires a simpler setup, and a less rigorous production schedule.

Hamlet Is Patrick Stewart’s Highest-Rated Film

Critically speaking, Hamlet boasts a perfect 100 percent critical score on Rotten Tomatoes against a 91 percent Audience Score making it the highest-rated Patrick Stewart movie across his entire career. If you want to stick to his sci-fi offerings, that’s fine, but if you want to see the Shakespearean side of your favorite commanding officer, then 2009’s Hamlet comes with strong recommendations.