Macbeth (2015)

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A brave and respected Scottish nobleman is confronted by a trio of soothsayers who predict he will become king, leading to a crisis of conscience and murder.

Justin Kurzel’s lavish adaptation of the Scottish play has all the expected trappings of a modern cinematic adaptation of the Bard. The big name stars turn in respectable performances as the scene is set atmospherically to a brooding and bloody misty highland backdrop. Although the visuals are nicely realised with some attractive production design and effective cinematography, the dialogue is exchanged earnestly with little in the way of visual cues to aid those not familiar with the rather obtuse prose; something that Kenneth Branagh’s Henry V achieved rather well. As a result the whole film feels very one note. In fact its whole approach is rather too dour which means that the tragic element of the story fails to cut through; Macbeth seems far too unlikable and self-serving to be a sympathetic anti-hero.

As a whole this version of the play looks marvellous but is rather dull and morose in execution; Akira Kurosawa’s Throne Of Blood is still the best adaptation by far.

5/10

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