Movie Date: Macbeth (NC16)
Far from “signifying nothing”, this tale is told ingeniously. Something wicked this way comes indeed.
STARRING: Michael Fassbender, Marion Cotillard, Elizabeth Debicki, Sean Harris, David Thewlis
DIRECTOR: Justin Kurzel
THE SKINNY: Valiant Scottish warrior Macbeth (Fassbender) is tempted to higher ambitions when given mysterious prophecies by three witches. Aided and abetted by his scheming wife Lady Macbeth (Cotillard), he conspires to murder King Duncan (Thewlis) for his throne, but his downfall has serious consequences for Scotland — and his soul.
MARS by JASON JOHNSON
Macbeth unfolds like a beautiful nightmare.
The visuals are handsome and romantic, like Game Of Thrones crossed with an arty cologne ad.
There's very little music, so we focus more on the physical loveliness of the performers and setting.
It's a very surface-oriented film and it seems less concerned with exploring the psychology of the characters than with creating delicious tableaux.
The material is so strong (Shakespeare, yo!), it speaks for itself. Macbeth doesn't need to be milked.
Director Kurzel wisely focuses on creating an ornate display case to present the Bard's genius.
There are juicy and bold statement pieces, such as a firelit sword fight between Macbeth (Fassbender) and Macduff (Harris).
There are hidden gems such as the Celtic-Christian murals on the walls of Lady Macbeth's chapel.
The Three Witches drag around a cute little girl for no other reason, it seems, than to add visual interest.
If you're looking for story value, there's some of that, too.
Macbeth's pathetic, rain-soaked tent village tells you everything you need to know about his ambition.
And the tangerine robe he later wears as king tells you everything you need to know about his fey decadence.
Macbeth is dazzling in its doom.
VENUS by LISA TWANG
This is hands down the best Shakespearean movie I've ever seen.
If you avoid anything at the cinema labelled "Shakespeare" because it gives you bad dreams about O levels, this probably means nothing to you.
But if you're a literature geek, you'll thoroughly enjoy this.
Fassbender is mesmerising as Macbeth, capturing his noble bravery and subsequent descent into tyranny perfectly.
It's a role he was born to play. He cuts a magnificent figure as both a battlefield hero and a maniacal king demanding the deaths of innocent children.
Cotillard makes a wonderful Lady Macbeth. She's portrayed more as a woman haunted by a tragic past than a psycho femme fatale but that only makes her more endearing.
I loved how the film includes just enough Shakespearean dialogue for that authentic Elizabethan flavour but cuts out more obscure references to speed the plot along.
The battle scenes are brutal, really bringing the story to life. Heads roll, people get impaled and the full force of "sound and fury" is unleashed when swords clash.
Macbeth isn't exactly the stuff of date movies, unless you and your significant other like to chat about how to plan your next murder together.
But it's gorgeously shot and very compelling.
THE CONSENSUS: Far from “signifying nothing”, this tale is told ingeniously. Something wicked this way comes indeed.