In association with the Grosvenor
My indefinite love for all things Fassbender and Shakespeare made this an absolute must-see, but I vowed to take the film on face-value.
It’s always difficult to adapt Shakespeare to film, and to render it appealing to a modern-day audience. It can often be quite hit and miss; the difference between Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo and Juliet, or Gnomeo and Juliet. But from the onset, Justin Kurzel encapsulates the entire mood of this theatrical masterpiece; with the breathtaking, rolling-hills of a mysterious Scottish landscape, as his open to this bleak and compelling tale of gluttony and power. The flawless cinematography throughout, clever use of freeze frames in the battle scenes – which are not for the faint-hearted – and the effective, silent, flashbacks that torture Macbeth’s thwarted psychology, all contribute to this eerie and sophisticated adaptation.
Fassbender has never disappointed me, and I knew going in, he would make a brilliant Macbeth. His ability to transcend a thousand different emotions in one scene makes him one of the best actors of his generation. His menacing, masochistic, perversion in his illegitimate acquisition to monarchy, is somewhat dampened by what should have been an intensely evil and relentless Lady Macbeth, but the companionship of this ultimate Jacobean power-couple fell short of anything spectacular. Lady Macbeth (Marion Cotillard) or, rather Lady ‘Macbore’, was slightly disappointing. Her pseudo-Scottish accent deterred from what should’ve been an awe-inspiring performance, particularly her famous soliloquy. Likewise, the witches were lackluster and generally under-cooked, even upstaged by the Scottish backdrop itself.
The Jedi-inspired apparel donned by the cast; in particular Lady Macbeth’s Princess Leia hairdo, and a couple of unconvincing 13th century soldier that bore an uncanny resemblance to the cast of This is England ’90, unfortunately make Macbeth’s tragic premise somewhat laughable, as did the surprising decision to decorate the soldiers in the infamously inaccurate blue war-paint modeled by Mel Gibson in 1995’s Braveheart.
Despite its disjointed execution, and the often unintelligible husky Scottish accents akin to a Glaswegian drunk on Sauchiehall St at 8am, it nonetheless paid homage to this Shakespearean epitome, the story itself ensuring its popularity some 400 years on.