- RatedNC16 /GenreDrama
“By the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes ...”
Indeed, something wicked… blood, murder, treachery, paranoia and more blood are at the centre of Justin Kurzel’s stunning take on ‘Macbeth’.
The Australian filmmaker’s adaptation of the Bard’s tragedy of murderous ambition is perhaps the most cinematic, if not the bloodiest of them all.
While others who have tread on Shakespeare have tried to update the material to contemporary or familiar settings, Kurzel stays faithfully in period and gives us a superlative look at how the play should be viewed – in the vastness of the Scottish highlands.
Here, the pages and words of Shakespeare are impeccably rendered on celluloid care of Australian cinematographer Adam Arkapaw whose stunning camerawork evokes lush paintings awash in hues of orange, reds and greys.
Another triumph is the movie’s fearsome cast whose careful and compelling reading of the work underscores the movie’s inventiveness in staying true to the source material while forging its own path.
Michael Fassbender, possibly one of our generation’s finest actors, is born to play Macbeth. Fassbender’s Macbeth oozes quiet intensity through his conspiratorial whispers. His transformation of the noble warrior into a mad king, with madness and psychosis slowly trickling into his performance, is mesmerizing.
French actress Marion Cottilard makes a perfect case as the manipulative Lady Macbeth. The death of the Macbeths’ child slowly chipping away at their virtue. Bard purists may cringe at Cottilard’s deviations from the original text but somehow her performance makes perfect sense.
The Fassbender-Cottilard team-up is a dream pairing indeed, both actors clearly playing off of each other’s strengths. Whenever they’re together, the frame just drips with sexual magneticism.
Equally impressive are the supporting cast: from Paddy Considine’s Banquo and Sean Harris’ Macduff to Elizabeth Debicki’s Lady Macduff.
The hypnotic fight scenes reminds us of the great battles of Middle Earth but done with more artistic flourish. The impassioned soliloquys seem more poignant interspersed with silent vignettes of future and past events.
“Bloody, bold and resolute”, this is ‘Macbeth’ at its most primal; and in Kurzel’s hands reborn in blood and iron.
'Macbeth' opens in cinemas 26 November 2015