Screening Room: ‘Macbeth’

"Fair is foul, and foul is fair / Hover through the fog and filthy air" (Weinstein Company)
“Fair is foul, and foul is fair / Hover through the fog and filthy air” (Weinstein Company)

It’s been awhile since anybody has dared make a film of the Scottish Play. Maybe the curse is finally over? In any case, you could do much worse than Michael Fassbender as the ambitious Thane and Marion Cotillard as the scheming Lady Macbeth.

macbeth1A new and very atmospheric Macbeth opens this week. My review is at Film Journal International:

Soaked in foggy Highland gloom, Justin Kurzel’s beautifully dour Macbeth is moody and violent to a fault. Nobody cracks a smile and there’s nary a drop of blood spilled that isn’t captured in slow-motion flight like an outtake from some Ridley Scott medieval sword-fest. That’s all on the page, of course. Nobody would say that the Scottish Play had to be done as comedy. But there’s a reason that some adaptations embed a bitter strain of farce amidst all the plotting, haunting, murder and madness. After all, its protagonists spend a good part of the play completely out of their heads and throwing an entire nation into civil war because of what some witches told them. While their delusions have real-life consequences, to take them entirely seriously is to risk missing at least part of the point…

Here’s the trailer: