Review: Macbeth, or better call it The Scottish play, isn’t only Shakespeare’s most straight-forward troupe, but also the direst and most superstitious—with plenty of harrowing imagery and the real-life curse.
Australian director, Justin Kurzel, is seemingly persistent to be faithful to the source when adapting Macbeth in his 110-minute long adaptation of Shakespeare’s short tragedy. Act-per-act and specific scenes are staged loyally to give cinematic visual treatment to the play. Even, poetic, enigmatic, but resourceful dialogues are directly transliterated—to resonate the originality of the play—in juxtaposition with idyllic visuals which talks like poetry.
Macbeth is a story of the degradation and corruption of a good man’s heart in the hand of ambition. The titular character (Michael Fassbender) was a good man; he was once a Thane of Glamis and the victor of a battle against allied force. He’s a poetic, reluctant kind of killer. Yet, an encounter with three witches, who prophesy him to someday be the King of Scotland, has gradually altered him from a real human to be a devil. And, Fassbender is only unraveling it in an elegant transformation.
As his counterpart, Marion Cotillard really brings Lady Macbeth into a further realm. Lady Macbeth is arguably as important as Macbeth himself. Half of the titular man’s corrupted head is Lady Macbeth’s work. And, that’s where the couple excels in bringing those characters into one deadliest couple in literature.
Justin Kurzel finds comfort in taking his independence to make his work more cinematic. He improves rather than alters the narrative; although he indeed alters some details. Instead of opening it with the apparitions of the three witches, Macbeth opens with an unhinged scene detailing the funeral of Macbeth’s deceased son—which gets a little more detail than it is in the original source, providing more insight to the titular character.
My favorite scenes, which I thought unfilmable, were actually really good and, obviously, filmable. The apparition of the witches is enigmatic and beautiful; in same portion as the well-known Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow monologue delivered by guilt-stricken Macbeth. Most importantly, Kurzel’s depth to the originality of Macbeth is the key it is christened as one of the best screen adaptation of Shakespeare’s works.
Even if you haven’t read/seen any Macbeth performance ever, or even if you do not feel connected to the dialogue, Macbeth lives. The key is: Complexity, ambiguity, and the beauty of Macbeth is juxtaposed poetically with Kurzel’s flair for cinematic beauty.
Drama, Adaptation, War Directed by: Justin Kurzel Written by: Jacob Koskoff, Michael Lesslie, Todd Louiso (screenplay), William Shakespeare (Play) Starred by: Michael Fassbender, Marion Cotillard, Paddy Considine, Sean Harris Runtime: 113 mins Rated R