Many have attempted to recreate Shakespeare’s most famous plays, but few have succeeded as well as director Justin Kurzel with his new film Macbeth.
Macbeth is faithful to its source material; that is, the dialogue is spoken in Shakespearean language. Although this trait may turn away some people, others (predominantly lovers of the original play) will appreciate its authenticity. Unfortunately, those who are unfamiliar with Shakespeare’s original story might have trouble following the film.
While staying true to the language, Macbeth also travels in new directions, experimenting with gorgeous visuals and explicit gore.
Set in a war-torn Scotland, Macbeth (Michael Fassbender) is a fearless warrior who receives a message from witches that he will become the King of Scotland. Consumed by the want for power and pressured by his wife, Lady Macbeth (Marion Cotillard), Macbeth kills the King of Scotland and takes the throne. Of course, many more murders follow to ensure Macbeth’s stay as king, which are pretty brutal at times.
The performances by Fassbender and Cotillard are exceptional. They are both excellently cast, and the evilness in their eyes plays off each other to create a power couple on screen. There is an intensity to their performances that does not let up, which is certainly what both roles call for. Although Fassbender has proved his worth in film, it was Cotillard who stole the screen. It would not be surprising if Cotillard grabbed a nomination for her performance during the upcoming awards season.
Aside from the acting, the costume design is sure to pick up award nominations, as well as set design. From the battlefield to the castle, every lavish moment was captured beautifully by the camera. Kurzel chose to include some interesting angles and stylized camera work; many times slow-motion was used, especially in battle scenes. This worked to the film’s advantage because it dramatized certain moments.
The visuals in Macbeth were powerful enough to keep audiences engaged that may have otherwise been put off by the indecipherable dialogue. Though, if you know and love the story of Macbeth and his reign, you are sure to love this film as well.
Macbeth is rated R for strong violence and brief sexuality and runs for 1 hr 53 min.