A ruthlessly ambitious Scottish lord seizes the throne with the help of his scheming wife and a trio of witches.A ruthlessly ambitious Scottish lord seizes the throne with the help of his scheming wife and a trio of witches.A ruthlessly ambitious Scottish lord seizes the throne with the help of his scheming wife and a trio of witches.
Shakespearean tragedies/comedies being translated to film are nothing new, of course. There have been some clear hits and misses over the decades - but fortunately, "Macbeth" does not fall into that latter "miss" category, for it is a tremendously underrated, very surprising, and overall competently made film. Roman Polanski is an excellent director here, and the acting, music, and effects (some of which - particularly the "dagger/murder" sequence - perversely amused my fellow classmates, who are obviously jaded by today's overblown, unsubtle, effects-laden "dramas") worked well for me. As well, the graphic violent and sexual nature of the film (which was also sometimes entertaining to the class, sadly) shocked me quite a bit. Of course, for a film made in 1971, Polanski's "Macbeth" isn't exactly "tame", if you will. Apparently it was rated X at the time, when the notorious film rating existed. I'm not sure if that's true or not, but it clearly wouldn't be surprising if it were, especially considering how intense this film can get - both physically and psychologically. It works extremely well as an old-fashioned action-packed thriller, and even to someone who knew the story fairly well, it was an exciting little soap opera to behold. The class really enjoyed it as well, I'm glad to say; even for all its "old" qualities (i.e. the twangy psychadelic-sounding music that plays upon the closing credits) it still achieved a certain charm that was impossible to deny.
One of the most impressive and enjoyable Shakespearean films I have ever seen, "Macbeth" deserves much more acclaim than scorn - for it is well-made, and enormously faithful to its original source, capturing all the details of ol' Scotland and its inhabitants with great care. It's a wonderful treat. Highly recommended.
- Sep 5, 2003