Macbeth is the story of a fearless warrior and inspiring leader brought low by ambition and desire. A thrilling interpretation of the dramatic realities of the times and a re-imagining of what wartime must have been like for one of literature’s most famous and compelling characters, a story of all-consuming passion and ambition set in war torn Scotland.
What’s left to be done with a play once Orson Welles, Akira Kurosawa and Roman Polanski have finished with it? In the case of Macbeth, the answer is plenty. Both the setting and language are un-updated: the action unfolds in Middle-Ages Scotland, and what words there are, are Shakespeare’s. But the play itself has been stripped down to its carcass. Previously familiar passages have been re-interpreted in unexpected, ingenious ways.
One of the film’s most inspired touches is to paint Macbeth as a battle-weary general whose fits and hallucinations are brought on by post-traumatic stress disorder. Meanwhile, Cotillard’s rendition of Lady Macbeth’s famous sleepwalking scene is a very fine piece of self-contained acting.
Dir: Justin Kurzel, 2015, USA, 1hr 53min.
Stars: Michael Fassbender, Marion Cotillard, Jack Madigan