Macbeth is the latest film adaptation of the play by William Shakespeare. If you weren’t forced to read it in high school, here is a summary. Scotland is in the middle of a war and few left are loyal to King Duncan. Macbeth (Michael Fassbender) is a leader in an army under the King. After a battle, 3 witches approach him and prophesy that he will not only rise in rank, but also become King. As the first part of this prophesy comes true, Macbeth begins to thirst after the crown and its power. Pushed by his wife (Marion Cotillard), Macbeth commits a series of crimes that fill him with guilt and bring him to the edge of his sanity.
This film is absolutely stunning. The sets and wardrobes are detailed and gorgeous. This Shakespearean tragedy is perfectly realized with accompanying shots of the surrounding scenery. I’m a sucker for gloomy landscapes, and the dreary tone of the misty mountains and rolling hills took my breath away. Even the battle scenes, while brutal, are almost elegant. Every scene is perfect and the mood is palpable.
The cast is incredible. Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard both give exceptional performances and have amazing chemistry together. Both characters have very different descents into madness but both are equally captivating and heartbreaking. Cotillard in particular brings new depth to Lady Macbeth’s character that I never experienced until now. Fassbender’s portrayal of Macbeth’s ruthless reign is captivating and terrifying.
It should be noted that Macbeth’ s script is not a modernized version. The film holds true to the original play. This may prove to be tiring for some audiences less familiar with Shakespeare’s works. It is not for everyone. However, because the acting is so outstanding, I think it is possible to not understand a single sentence, but still follow the plot and be completely fascinated by its characters. That coupled with the cinematography makes this worth watching. Especially on a big screen, if you are able with its limited release.