I read Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead a few years back, and was blown away by Stoppard’s reckless mash-up of Shakespeare and Beckett. The constant slippage between various diegeses (I mean, how often do you need to figure out what the plural of “diegesis” is?), the rapid-fire dialogue (I’d like to see a production with Lauren Graham and Alexis Bledel), the elevation of pronouns to the most significant position within any given sentence (with apologies to Abbott and Costello, and no apologies to Chomsky): the whole affair is a wonderful play (pun intended) on identity, reality, and langugage.

Which might be why the movie version didn’t do much for me. Tim Roth and Gary Oldman do a fine job in the title roles, and they actually figured out a way put that colossal ham Richard Dreyfus to good use, but as a whole, the film doesn’t quite click. It might be that the attempts to add visual poetics into the mix distract from the words rather than enhancing them, or it might be that the adapted script makes the whole thing seem more like a spoof on a Cliff’s Notes version of Hamlet rather than a grand digression. Or it just might be that such a verbal play just isn’t the best choice for a transfer from the stage to the silver screen.

Oh, well. At least the game of questions is still a good time.