Macbeth, a review

A tragedy of political ambition and the resulting cost upon a person’s soul to triumph. This time re-told upon bleak Scottish vistas, cold and unforgiving, strewn with the deceitful deeds of men. This matrimony of dense prose and haunting visuals is used to great effect to tell the tale of General Macbeth. The elaborate dialogue is punctuated with visceral violence, an effective technique to remind the audience of the necessity of a film adaptation, excelling in realising its striking and consistently stunning world. There are no frivolities present in this iteration, dreary realism is maintained throughout, reinforcing the rising madness gripping Macbeth’s tortured mind. In the face of unrelenting guilt victory does little to dampen his distress, and he feels there is no option but to continue.

 “Will all great Neptune’s ocean wash this blood clean from my hand? No, this my hand will rather the multitudinous seas incarnadine, making the green one red.”

The film is ambitious in its portrayal of battles and uses inspired staging to play out the scenes; but with the script? The film remains very faithful. While this occasionally makes for dramatic scenes that fully utilise the masterful writing, many times the meaning is lost on a modern audience, leaving them for stretches of time unable to comprehend. I feel a interweaving of original text and modern interpretation could have greatly benefited the accessibility of the film. The underlying narrative is still as intriguing as ever, with its multifaceted characters playing out the classic play, making the conventional dialogue all the more disappointing.

“…Full of scorpions is my mind…”

Both Cotillard and Fassbender give almost faultless performances, with Cotillard especially displaying a captivating acting ability throughout. Their psychosis is portrayed superbly, with no hint of absurdity, leaving the audience in the palm of their hand. The eerie visualisation of hallucinations is handled supremely well, somehow able to complement the films brutal reality with the supernatural.

3/5 – Good
A master class in visuals and charismatic acting, it is truly a beautiful film. While worth seeing merely for the spectacle, a viewer not well versed in the tale may be lost in these icy highlands.

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