Being one of Shakespeare’s most tragic of works, Macbeth, portrayed by Michael Fassbender in this film, does not have that fluffy Hollywood ending you may get from some thrillers and will leave you feeling just a little exhausted.
Starting of the film we see Macbeth (Michael Fassbender) and his wife, Lady Macbeth (Marion Cotillard) consumed with grief, but very dignified at the death of their infant son, this clearly sets the stage for the glum feel of the story and mental state of both our main characters. Jumping from this straight into a battle scene, where our noble soldier, Macbeth takes charge and leads his troops into glory on the misty fields of Scotland, leading to the encounter of the witches that impart on him an insight into his future of being the King.
Each battle that is played out is fused together with a sequence of slow-motion moves with the main focus of the camera on Macbeth himself in a motionless state. If you have seen the stage play of Macbeth, be under no illusion that this follows the same suit. This adaptation is extremely stylised, visually stunning with cinematography from the very start that gives it that eerie atmospheric touch.
Duncan, the King (David Thewlis) makes a visit to Macbeth’s village to celebrate their glory but after a speech from the highly ambitious and ruthless minded Lady Macbeth, Macbeth takes to the Kings sleeping quarters in the dead of night and brutally murders him, While slumped over his dead body the Kings son, Malcolm (Jack Reynor) walks in on the bloody scene. Macbeth consumed with his own thoughts of ambition, and the start of his psychotic stance scares off Malcolm who disappears into the night.
For those not familiar with the Shakespearian language it can make the dialogue a little hard to understand at times and coupled together with accents of French and Irish from some of the main cast, although giving it an authentic feel of the 11th century, makes it sound just a bit mumbled.
As Macbeth becomes comfortable in his reign as King his mental state deteriorates into paranoia and when his Queen, Lady Macbeth passes he becomes a shadow of his former self, ordering the death of his friend’s family at the disgust of most of his court which only leads to his own demise and the return of the cowardly Malcolm to take back his rightful throne.
Whilst Fassbender is outstanding in his performance showing Macbeth’s vulnerability and psychotic state making him extremely watchable its Cotillard who steals the show. She doesn’t have much to do, no scenes of action at all but just to stand there and make poignant speeches which infiltrate her husband’s mind, but her facial expressions and the emotions it portrays along with her tone in her speech are exceedingly powerful.
Visually, beautifully stunning to watch, powerfully acted Macbeth may be hard to understand at times but this tragic thriller is set to become one of the best cinematic pieces of our generation.
MACBETH IS IN CINEMAS ON FRIDAY 2nd OCTOBER