Hamilton(Video On Demand)
Starring Lin-Manuel Miranda as Alexander Hamilton, Renée Elise Goldsberry as Angelica Schuyler, Jasmine Cephas Jones as Maria Reynolds
Directed by: Lin-Manuel Miranda
Rating: ** ½
Here comes the most overrated film I’ve seen in recent times. Hamilton is not even a film. It’s a Broadway musical not adapted to the screen but simply filmed from the stage and put on the large screen ….or at least that was the plan.
Sadly, Man proposes, Covid disposes. Hamilton for all its stagey grandiosity and selfconscious flamboyance finds itself lost on the small screen.
Hamilton falls short on every count. Its historicity is of little or no interest to us.The saga of Alexander Hamilton(Lin-Manuel Miranda) a migrant in New York City who worked closely with George Washington and rose to the ranks of an important politician, is of as much relevance to us as Ashutosh Gowariker’s Panipat to American audiences.
The musical format is interesting. The song and music(by Lin Manuel-Miranda) have a certain arresting free-flowing flavour and the singing specially by Renee Elise Goldsberry who has a wonderful singing voice. And she uses it with an aggressive gusto that would carry itself to the last row in the theatres.
On the small home screen the singing and dancing in Hamilton amounts to zilch. This is more a storm in the teacup than a genuine believable transition.The sets are impressive and there are a lot of bright vibrant but understated colours on stage.
But the content and the songs do not make for a cohesive cinematic experience.
It was like watching a Broadway play from the first row.I remember my disappointment when some years ago I saw The Phantom Of The Opera on Broadway in New York. For tickets that we bought online worth Rs14,000 each we were put in the backrows where I had to detach my legs from my waste to accommodate myself in my cramped seat without hitting the head in the front, and the characters looked like ants from where we sat.
The bird’s eye view provided in Hamilton didn’t diminish my feeling of being at the wrong place at the wrong time. Hamilton is a grand stage play. But onscreen it feels like a sham, a forced attempt to get a larger audience for a hit play.With the actors sparing no effort to sing and dance through a political opera that suffers from acute racial oblivion , Hamilton is just the kind of exasperating experience that had me pining for movie theatres.