One of Shakespeare’s most famous plays, Macbeth has been done and done again over the decades with the likes of Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Orson Welles and Kenneth Branagh playing the titular role of Macbeth, but its Michael Fassbender’s time to lose his mind and take the throne. Directed by 41 year old Australian Justin Kurzel, Macbeth has come to life on the big screen once again and visually, is the best adaptation I’ve ever seen. The visually striking picture really resembles the era when Macbeth is set in and honours the original piece of work that Shakespeare worked on. Surrounded by an impressive cast of British and French talent, Macbeth on paper has one of the strongest ensemble seen on screen for a while, but does everyone put in the effort?
Firstly, Michael Fassbender is mesmerizing as the crazed Macbeth who would be king for all the wrong reasons. Murder, traitorous nature and psychotic mumbling are the essence of a powerful performance for such a powerful and enigmatic character. A character that has been used and used over decades is incredibly difficult, but Fassbender’s performance is flawless and seamless in his flow. There’s been talk that Michael Fassbender was born to play Macbeth; maybe he is, but one thing for sure is that he plays the role incredibly well. Onto the only negative of the movie and I wouldn’t even go as far as calling it negative, more disappointing. Marion Cotillard’s performance as Lady Macbeth feels weak and lifeless and for me, that’s a big shame! It’s not a terrible performance by all means, but Lady Macbeth is just as crazy as her murderous husband; she is ultimately the one who tips Macbeth over the edge to kill the people in the line for the throne. Lady Macbeth is a character who craves the throne just as much as her husband and makes Macbeth to take the leap for the throne in his murderous ways, but soon after seeing his brain fry to scrambled eggs after his killings, Lady Macbeth see’s the wrong she did. All I felt from Marion Cotillard’s performance was that of a coward and not the strong woman we know in the play.
Moving onto more positive points, Justin Kurzel has delivered in my eyes a visual spectacle and easily the best shot film of this year so far. It’s incredibly exciting to see him working on the ‘Assassins Creed’ movie at the moment and I have all faith that he will deliver, especially after this striking piece of art. Macbeth is lucky to have a solid supporting cast of British actors in the story too including David Thewlis, Sean Harris and Paddy Considine to whom I all enjoy their work. Macbeth overall is a well shot film, but admittedly, if you aren’t a Shakespeare fan, then step away immediately. There were moments where speech that was being muttered became incredibly difficult to understand or comprehend, but that’s maybe because I haven’t read Macbeth since I was at school! Macbeth only has very minor flaws, but some huge positives that should be celebrated including the lead performance from Fassbender and the direction by Justin Kurzel. 4 out of 5 stars.