There is no offstage in the movies. The camera is a literal instrument that photographs precisely what is placed before it, and has trained us to believe that what we are looking at is what we should be looking at. Any medium that can make a star out of Mark Harmon can make heroes of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. As for Hamlet and his uncle, and Gertrude, Ophelia, Polonius, Laertes - if they're so important, where are they? If Rosencrantz and Guildenstern were interesting characters on their own, this movie might yet survive its medium. But they are not. They are nonentities, and so intended. The most memorable performance in "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern" is the one by Richard Dreyfuss , as the leading player of the visiting troupe, and he becomes memorable in the time-honored way, by stealing his scenes.
In essence, the play is pure Stoppard: a killer conceit, extrapolated through endlessly erudite and witty wordplay. Rosencrantz (Radcliffe) and Guildenstern (Joshua McGuire) are the two minor characters from Hamlet who are brought center-stage, but consigned still to the margins of Shakespeare's action as it now happens off stage. Since the "excellent good friends" are employed to spy on the prince, they can only remain frustratingly in the dark as to his state of mind and intentions, thus questioning their own purpose — not just in Elsinore, but in life.