Review: MacBeth


DIR: Justin Kurzel • WRI: Jacob Koskoff, Michael Lesslie, Todd Louiso • PRO: Iain Canning, Laura Hastings-Smith, Emile Sherman • DOP: Adam Arkapaw • ED: Chris Dickens • MUS: Lorne Balfe • DES: Fiona Crombie • MUS: Jed Kurzel • CAST: Michael Fassbender, Marion Cotillard


MacBeth is Shakespeare’s most cinematic play. It has a clear linear narrative, and has plenty of action leading to a bloody climax. In the past it has been adapted successfully to the screen by Orson Welles, Roman Polanski and Akira Kurosawa.

The latest version stars Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard. Its Australian director, Justin Kurzel, uses a visceral modern style that bombards the senses. It’s full of slow motion and moody music, and the lengthy scenes of the play have been broken up into staccato snippets and visual flashbacks. The film seems to want to get as far away from its origins as a play as it can. Even the dialogue is delivered in ominous mumbles and whispers. Did Kurzel think a modern audience would be bored with Shakespeare and the material had to be sexed up?

On the spectrum of people of people who like/dislike Shakespeare, this film may not satisfy either. If you like the play you may be frustrated by how much Kurzel has twisted it to make it his own. And if you don’t like the play you may wonder if all this sound and fury signifies anything. This version of MacBeth is overloaded with style, over edited, has too much music and not enough Shakespeare.

Stephen Kane

15A (See IFCO for details)

MacBeth is released 2nd October 2015

MacBeth – Official Website


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