20 August 2006 | shatteredbluedreams
The famous Macbeth play is uprooted from old Britain to 2005 Melbourne. The transplant is only successful with immunosuppressant drugs, i.e. & e.g. I was quite melancholy depressed when I saw this movie. The front half of the theatre was empty; sitting in the first occupied row in the centre of the theatre, the view of the dark emptiness blended with the mood of the film.
Rather than the cloud world of kings and queens and nobles, this Macbeth is set in the glamorously untouchable underworld. Guns and drugs and lots of unhappy good-looking people. That kind of stuff. A modern day tyrant king and his world could have been paralleled with a representation of some of the most powerful and wealthy people in the modern world, rather than a petty crime lord. Oh well.
Initially the movie is violent nasty crime. As it goes on it becomes more and more surreal. The hit men and thugs that play for modern lords and nobles seem to more and more live in an enchanted mediaeval world albeit decorated with guns and motorcycles and televisions and security cameras and mobile phones. The strange Shakespeare speech seems less and less ridiculous, more fitting and real. This is true for the weaker actors and stronger actors both.
Macbeth is played by Sam Worthington. He struggles with the Shakespeare dialogue sometimes but he is charismatic, enticing; he does seem like a brave champion with a dark side. Victoria Hill does a similar job as his wife, the Lady Macbeth. She splutters the dialogue sometimes yet always seems to actually be the Lady Macbeth. She's unhappy and cold and charming and manipulative. Gary Sweet is very good as Duncan. Steve Bastoni, Lachy Hulme and Kat Stewart all are very convincing. Mick Molloy drew unintentional laughs of recognition even though he is very good. A famous Australian comedian, he is just right as one of the menacing cutthroats. Bob Franklin and Kym Gyngell are two other famous Australian comedians with small roles well performed.
The film looks very polished and professional from a production standpoint. The film is actually a bit too flashy and aesthetically oriented. The famous psychological struggles of Macbeth and the Lady Macbeth are skimped over and caricatured. Ambiguous things are made unequivocal and one of the most memorable parts of the entire play, involving Lady Macbeth and her hands, is rushed by so quickly that it's almost skipped by entirely.
Overall this production has the same depth of a poor adaptation of a famous book, comic or TV show. Most everything famous about the play is included in some form but not in an emotionally involving or mentally engrossing way. At all. This film is worth seeing once.