Moira and I went along to the Watershed yesterday to see Justin Kurzel’s “Macbeth”.We obviously knew we weren’t exactly going to be in for a bright, heart-warming time… and this clearly proved to be the case (you know the story, the characters, the key lines from the play etc!).
From what little I’d previously heard about the film, I realised it was going to be a dark, bleak and somewhat bruising. It was certainly all of these things, but much, much more.
The photography/cinematography is stunningly impressive – shot on the wonderful, beautiful, stark Isle of Skye - and its dramatic, timeless setting sets the tone for the film from the very beginning on the bruising, bloody battlefield.
Actually, it was all very, very bloody!
This was definitely NOT like watching a Shakespeare play on stage (indeed the film can only be described as being “based on” the play – and a stripped-down version at that… which is fine). Normally, after perhaps five minutes, I find that the dialogue suddenly clicks in to focus (not quite the right word?) and I can thereafter hear/recognise/understand what’s being said. With this film, I have to say, I struggled to “hear” throughout – a combination of Scottish voices/accents and typically mumbled cinematic dialogue… but it actually didn’t matter. You could follow what was happening (and I think this would have been the case even if you didn’t know the play).
Macbeth (Michael Fassbender) and his infamous Lady (Marion Cotillard) are both excellent in the leading roles – a battle-weary general/tortured soul encouraged to commit regicide by his ruthlessly ambitious wife. It’s a film about murder, guilt and self-loathing…
Oh, and one of the lasting images from the film, for me, was the haunting portrayal of the witches - simply, and beautifully, depicted.
Powerful and quite brilliant.
Photo: the witches looming on the battlefield...