Starring: Michael Fassbender, Marion Cotillard, Paddy Considine
Director: Justin Kurzel
Running Time: 113 mins
Macbeth is a British film about a Thane of Scotland, named Macbeth, who receives a prophecy from three witches that he is one day to be the King. Influenced by this foretelling, he embarks on a rapid and violent ascent towards the throne that he desires.
This is a visually striking and hugely impressive adaptation of Shakespeare’s classic tale. Whilst the screenplay remains faithful to the original by retaining Shakespearean dialogue, the original direction by Justin Kurzel allows for an often mesmerising display that is more often than not the most interesting part of the entire film.
So, before we get into that, let’s talk about how Shakespearean this really is. In short: very. If, like so many us, you are a hater of Shakespeare thanks to years of it being rammed down your throat at school, this isn’t going to be as engrossing a watch, because you’ll likely be consistently confused and frustrated by ye olde dialogue.
However, the story itself is a classic, and whether you are a fan of the bard or not, it’s a very gritty and dark tale that can be very interesting at times. Macbeth’s rise to power is often haunting to watch, of course helped by Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard’s performances, as the two attempt to usurp the throne of Scotland for their own ambition.
This film in particular is extremely violent and gritty. The various battle scenes feel like you’re watching 300, with an onslaught of blood flying around, yet with such artistic direction that it’s almost dream-like.
The directing by Justin Kurzel is definitely the most impressive part of this whole film. His visual style turns this more into a loose-feeling arthouse picture more than a classic Shakespearean tale, as he turns battles into warped dreams, monologues into very intense sequences, and makes an overall visually striking film.
What’s more is that the score here will also really get you mesmerised in the film. Again, even if you’re struggling to cope with the Shakespearean dialogue, the eerie and unnerving music that plays almost incessantly throughout this film will have you hooked, as it really helps to create a more fearful atmosphere, likening Macbeth’s ascent to the end of days, furthered by Kurzel’s often apocalyptic-looking directing.
Overall, then, I’ll give Macbeth a 7.2, because despite its use of the original dialogue that makes it almost inaccessible and frustrating for general audiences, Justin Kurzel’s mesmerising directing style and the eerie score really help to kick some more life into this film.