Macbeth (2015) – Film Review

Such a disappointment for one of the best actors working today


Macbeth is directed by Justin Kurzel in what could be a warm up for the planned Assassin’s Creed (2016) movie as he is due to team up with Michael Fassbender again for that project.  Fassbender pays Macbeth the ambitious Scottish Lord who is visited by three witches following an epic battle to defend King Duncan (David Thewlis).  They tell of a prophecy that he will be king … just one problem, Duncan needs to go.  With a little encouragement from Lady Macbeth (Marion Cotillard) he does the deed and attains his prize but can find no peace and his life starts to unravel under the pressure.

This adaptation of William Shakespeare’s classic play is different to what I have seen before in that Lady Macbeth plays a less prominent role and it sidelines the political shenanigans to focus on a psychological study of the main man.  On that level I understand what attracted Fassbender to the role.  The film looks beautiful and makes the most of its Scottish setting using every excuse to film outside.  When you see Fassbender and Cotillard on screen they ooze movie star charisma and for the limited scenes they are on screen together they are very watchable.  The final showdown looks amazing set against an orange sky courtesy of a burning forest as Macbeth faces his fate.

Sadly this film is a boring watch which is amazing given the rich source material.  I’ve seen a production at The (new) Globe Theatre in London and it was full of political intrigue, drama and humour.  The one thing that this film lacks is humour.  It is played straight to a fault.  This vision of Shakespeare is what gives the great bard a bad name and it frustrates me when a film is made for such a narrow audience.  Such a massive disappointment which came as a crushing blow as I realised what this movie was within 10 minutes of the start.  The downbeat tone is made worse by a one-note score that repeats itself continuously and Fassbender is forced to surround himself by actors rejected by their local drama schools.  Some of these guys are so out of their depth I felt sorry for them.

I can’t recommend this production of Macbeth as it’s such a tough watch.  If it had been on TV I would have turned over to something else long before the end.  My rating 2/5.


One thought on “Macbeth (2015) – Film Review

  1. Boring is certainly the best way to sum up this film, as you said the source material is so good. It was one of the Shakespeare plays I really enjoyed reading, so to find parts of this film so bad really did surprise me. I was not a fan of Cotillard as Lady Macbeth though, poor choice for me.

    Liked by 1 person

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