Following on from his successful debut film Snowtown, Australian director Justin Kurzel returns to direct his version of Shakespeare’s Macbeth and he doesn’t disappoint.
Kurzel delivered a terrifying sense of dread in Snowtown and he’s carried over that style in Macbeth. The film is dark, gritty and tense. His style is fitting for the story in Macbeth and couple that with Michael Fassbender’s and Marion Cotillard’s brilliant performances, Macbeth leaves you reeling once the credits role.
Macbeth is an intensely atmospheric film. The visuals, which include lots of wide scenic shots of Scottish and UK highlands as well as slow (and regular) motion battle scenes are often doused in smoke and fog bringing a sense of unease to the viewer. To go with that, the film’s creepy musical score is unsettling, just like the plot of the film.
After a battle against the British, the Scottish commander Macbeth is visited by three witches who provide him with several prophecies. Once the prophecies start to come true and Macbeth becomes king of Scotland, he begins to descend into madness.
Michael Fassbender plays the title character and excels in his role. His portrayal of the noble Scotsman turned mad king is seamless. Fassbender was the perfect choice to play this role, as he always brings an extra depth to the characters he plays unlike any other working actor today. Marion Cotillard plays his wife, Lady Macbeth and the two compliment each other very well as she delivers an unrivalled cunningness to her character.
One of the downsides to the film is the Shakespearean dialogue. Many viewers will have a hard time following and understanding the dialogue. Thankfully though it’s not hard to make out the key message to each piece of monologue and the film’s basic plot can be easily followed without the need to absorb every word said.
Macbeth is a visceral moviegoing experience. Kurzel has expertly handled the source material while adding his own unique touch. The film is violent and tense and the acting is of a high class. Shakespeare would be proud of this adaptation.
The film received a 10-minute standing ovation at the end of its screening at the 68th Cannes Film Festival.