Macbeth, the Thane of Glamis, receives a prophecy from a trio of witches that one day he will become King of Scotland. Consumed by ambition and spurred to action by his wife, Macbeth murders his king and takes the throne for himself. [x]
Director: Justin Kurzel
Cinematographer: Adam Arkapaw
Writers: Todd Louiso, Jacob Koskoff, Michael Lesslie
Editor: Chris Dickens
Justin Kurzel was able to create a beautiful film, that will remain one of my favourites, and definitely is in my top 3 of 2015. One of the most underrated movies of 2015, Macbeth is an intense, visual experience that remains true to its original Shakespeare form. With amazing casting of Michael Fassbender as Macbeth, and Marion Cotillard as Lady Macbeth, the two give what is probably the best performance I’ve seen of the two.
The main praise this film has received was for the visuals. The cinematography, along with the editing, is easily some of the best I have seen. The incredible colours and visuals led me to re-watch this movie about 4 times in the same week when I first saw it because of how mesmerizing so many of the shots were. Adam Arkapaw’s work is some of the most captivating I’ve seen, up there with the amazing cinematography of Mad Max: Fury Road. The battle scenes were also just as amazing. The editing of the first and final battle scene created just the right amount of tension for a shakespeare play, and played true to the tone of the story. The way the vast landscapes were shot, with the fog, smoke and colour tinting were exactly what I imagined a shakespeare play needed and deserved. This adaptation was everything I’ve ever wanted, and everything the world needed, it is so amazing to see such a timeless play still be able to be translated so well onto the big screen. It will be hard to ever beat this.
My personal favourite aspect of this film was the score. The amazing sounds by Jed Kurzel (Justin Kurzel’s brother, I love that they work together on their films) created an amazing mood and ambiance to perfectly complete the scenes. In some films the soundtrack is completely lost and forgettable, but this soundtrack will hit you right in the gut every time a new song starts. I still have multiple songs from the soundtrack in my everyday playlist over a year after watching this movie. The music was able to accompany the cinematography as well as possible so that they came together perfectly, reflecting the intensity of the backgrounds into the intensity of the characters.
Lacking in some scenes in the clarity of the dialogue, and becoming confusing for audiences who are not completely familiar with Macbeth, it is clear the focal point of this film is the aesthetic, not the dialogue. With a mix of shakespearian english, and hard to hear voices, the audience was left to depend on the visuals to lead them through a couple of scenes in the film. Although not too annoying for myself as my middle school, as well as many others’ schools, drilled this story into my mind and I was able to keep up with what was happening, I can completely agree with the negative comments on how the story would get lost in the cinematography and created this frustrating barrier.
Even though there isn’t much more to say about the acting other than the fact that is was spectacular, I feel the need to make a point about Marion Cotillard’s incredible performance. She portrayed Lady Macbeth with every bit of insanity, beauty, and intensity that the character needed in order to make a film adaptation. A poor portrayal of the character could break a Macbeth film, but Cotillard surpassed what I could ever want to see. As a fan of Cotillards, this is definitely one of her strongest performances, if not her best, and I think she is truly underrated for her work in this film.
I believe that this is a film everyone needs to see, Macbeth fan or not, and I will continue to recommend it to everyone.