Macbeth, the Thane of Glamis, receives a prophecy from a trio of witches that one day he will become King of Scotland. Consumed by ambition and spurred to action by his wife, Macbeth murders... Read allMacbeth, the Thane of Glamis, receives a prophecy from a trio of witches that one day he will become King of Scotland. Consumed by ambition and spurred to action by his wife, Macbeth murders his king and takes the throne for himself.Macbeth, the Thane of Glamis, receives a prophecy from a trio of witches that one day he will become King of Scotland. Consumed by ambition and spurred to action by his wife, Macbeth murders his king and takes the throne for himself.
Not to mention the great reviews. Was a little worried though too, seeing that it was directed by Justin Kurzel who directed the big misfire and huge waste of potential that was 'Assassins Creed'. Luckily, this 'Macbeth' lived up to expectations on the whole if not exceeding them. It is not the definitive version of the play, either on film or filmed production, and did have room for improvement, but for all its flaws the film on the whole surprisingly impressed me.
This 'Macbeth' isn't perfect. It is agreed not always easy to understand the dialogue, which didn't need to be as hushed or as muttered. While the film a vast majority of the time looked absolutely great, there is a gratuitous overuse of slow-motion.
Especially in the first 10 minutes or so, which were more sluggish than arresting. There are cuts and some of the omissions do affect the drama where the storytelling becomes less coherent.
For all those drawbacks, there are a lot of positives with this 'Macbeth'. Other than the slow motion, it is quite an amazing looking film, with hugely atmospheric and grandiose visuals (from the suitably myterious fog early on right up to the boldly bloodthirsty climax). The photography to me was some of the best of that year, especially in the act and those locations are hugely effective in their atmosphere, uncompromising but also oddly beautiful and dark without taking it to extremes. The music is still haunting and Kurzel's direction is bolder and less muddled than it was in 'Assassins Creed' from the following year.
Moreover, although it would have been nice if it was more consistently intelligible, Shakespeare's text is still powerful and hard to forget. The story takes time to get going but does get more compelling and remarkably ambitious, at its most emotionally investable from the point where Macduff learning of his family's murder (which has always been a very moving part of the plot) up to the end. The action is both exciting and ferociously harrowing, pulling no punches without being too unnecessarily over the top (seeing as 'Macbeth' is already a dramatically brutal play).
Some interesting changes here. Really did like that the witches weren't portrayed in a way that was too reliant on witch cliches, and were spooky underneath their deceptive exteriors. Lady Macbeth is still an effective and steely manipulator but it was interesting to see a more conflicted side to her (very different as it is not what the play indicates) rather than her being completely villainous. This is not going to work for some, but to me it was interesting. The performances were on the whole great from all, Fassbender is searingly fierce in the title role without being too brutish and Cotillard contrasts with him effectively as a steely and imperious Lady Macbeth. Paddy Considine's Banquo is suitably noble and Harris proved in 'The Borgias' that he could do creepy but also tortured, and he is very moving here as Macduff. It is somewhat sad that Duncan's role in the play is not bigger because Thewlis, while perhaps a touch young, commands the part extremely well.
In conclusion, intriguing and well done but there are better versions of 'Macbeth' around. 7/10
- Sep 25, 2020