A review of Macbeth directed by Justin Kurzel

Macbeth Reviewed by P.P.O. Kane

Directed by Justin Kurzel
France, 2015
HOME, 25 October 2015

Faced with the prospect of a dreary peace, Macbeth the triumphant warrior goes for the main prize: King Duncan’s crown. It is an exhilarating adaptation of Shakespeare’s great tragedy but I feel that the emphasis is sometimes misplaced or even absent. For example, Lady Macduff’s ‘I have done no harm’ speech, usually the most moving in the whole play, is delivered while she’s on the run from murderers. They can’t hear her, we wonder why she’s starting a conversation. Run faster, woman.

Michael Fassbender gives a fiery performance, Marion Cotillard as Lady Macbeth is fine, though not as diabolical as I’d have liked. She has the best lines and those incantatory speeches (‘Come, you spirits that tend on mortal thoughts…’) side her  with the weird sisters, though you never really feel that here. The primitive world of castle and court, mountains and forest is fully realised: immersive and atmospheric. Thinking back on the film I could hardly recall any slack pacing or superfluous scenes. And it’s all here, the story is complete: we even have Banquo’s son raising up Macbeth’s sword and disappearing into the future.

A supple, sinuous film.

About the reviewer: P.P.O. Kane lives and works in Manchester, England. He welcomes responses to his reviews and you can reach him at ludic@europe.com Find more of his reviews at Jildy Sauce.