Review: Michael Fassbender a 'grossly terrifying Macbeth'
We’ve had a lot of cinematic adaptations of Macbeth over the decades – some more memorable than others, and some not for the right reasons. The iconic status of ‘the Scottish play’ is always a hindrance to any filmmaker when tackling such coveted material and characters, especially using an art-form that the text was never originally intended for.
This is a bold and stylised reworking, but never to the detriment of the source material, as director Justin Kurzel’s vision is detailed, precise and never feels to have perverted the intentions of Shakespeare’s tragedy. The interpretation of the three witches is unexpectedly simple and unnerving and there are new and interesting twists as to how the dialogue is delivered. From the use of the menacing drones from the string soundtrack to the violent tints of red in the picture, Macbeth is a jolting but hypnotic viewing.
Marion Cotillard and Michael Fassbender are the perfect match as Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. Fassbender gives us a fascinating, empathetic and grossly terrifying Macbeth. While not always a subtle interpretation of the role in his wild downward spiral into madness, Fassbender perfectly captures a rare sense of Macbeth’s introverted darkness.
While given less text from Shakespeare, Cotillard manages to command her own attention, captivating the audience in simple glances, providing some of the film's most silently sinister moments. However, there is a certain despairing sorrow in this performance that you don’t find in every performance of Lady Macbeth. Though still clearly going insane, Cotillard grounds her performance with a poignancy that is needed in making the character more than just a malicious femme fatal. Her final monologue is haunting, disturbing and deeply moving.
This exhilarating, inventive and perfectly paced bloodbath boasts stunning imagery and gripping performances - making it the finest Shakespearean adaptation of the past decade.
FIVE STARSWords by JOE PASSMORE