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.



Gravity, a review

A film lauded with critical appraisal, Gravity promised a lot, especially for a venture carried solely on the performance of Sandra Bullock and a universe of CGI. The film takes the concept of a catastrophe in space and cherishes it, being extremely conservative with what it deems necessary. The result is a genuinely intense and exhausting visual experience, making you content that you’ll never have to experience a spacewalk.

Alfonso Cuarón’s combination of hard science fiction and extremely long panning shots builds a unique, cold atmosphere, reflective of the silent desolation of space. The technical accuracy and lack of hasty transitions give a sense of realism and scale that extenuates the pressure, making the opening line of ‘Life in space is impossible’ seem strikingly factual. However at no point does the film feel compromised in service of the meticulous realism. Both Clooney and Bullock give sublime performances, knowing exactly how to deliver their lines in situations where overacting would seem inevitable. In a similar fashion the 3D is carefully understated, with the greatest compliment being that it didn’t stand out.

The film manages to concisely deliver almost all this information visually, taking a refreshing stand against insulting exposition in which films are compelled to explain everything. It gives the film an air of maturity and respect; mirroring the temperament that allows the astronauts to survive in the uncompromising void of space.

5/5 – Extraordinary
Lack of control and the resulting tension are the backbone of this stunning film, creating a beautiful disaster in contrast to the space ballet of 2001: Space Odyssey. Where the moon landing made a generation reach for the starts, Gravity will make you thankful to be safely on terra firma.