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So as you know, I stopped writing lengthy reviews on this site this year, keeping the blog as more of a film diary of sorts.  Lo and behold,...

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Movie Review - Macbeth

Macbeth (2015)
Starring Michael Fassbender, Marion Cotillard, Paddy Considine, David Thewlis, and Sean Harris
Directed by Justin Kurzel
***This film is currently available on Amazon Prime***

I've always said that you have to be in the mood to watch Shakespeare and I thought I was when I started director Justin Kurzel's iteration of Macbeth...but the heaviness and gloom combined with whispered and sometimes unintelligible dialog (which is never a good thing in a Shakespearean adaptation since the Bard's words are sometimes difficult to grasp) make this adaptation quite a slog.  Truth be told, Macbeth isn't one of my favorite Shakespeare dramas so that may have something to do with my displeasure here, but I had hoped that this cinematic piece would've enlightened me a little bit into Shakespeare's tale of a good guy turned very bad and with one exception that simply isn't the case in the slightest.

Quite frankly, the storyline here, particularly at the beginning, is incomprehensible.  If this were one's first venture into Macbeth, you could never be admonished for not understanding what in the hell is going on.  The heavy Scottish accents, mumbled words, and whispered verse are difficult with which to acclimate oneself.  I tried for forty minutes, but then had to give in and turn on the subtitles -- oh, well.  About an hour in once our title character (played by Michael Fassbender) really takes control of the fiefdom and his wife (Marion Cotillard) begins to recognize the monstrous man she's created, I began to gain interest, but it was too little too late as the dour heaviness of the production just weighs down any modicum of interest.

What the film does do right in terms of the story -- and the few times that the otherwise unemotional and cold Fassbender and Cotillard really shine -- is showcasing the impact that the loss of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth's infant son had on them.  The film's most powerful moments revolve around paternity and lineage, and my eyes are actually newly opened to this aspect in Shakespeare's work.  Kudos in that regard to Justin Kurzel, but while his film contains some beautiful stark cinematography which is admirably shot, that aforementioned dirge-like atmosphere never ends.  The bleak and dismal environment isn't the least bit entertaining or captivating and makes this Macbeth an aggravating failure.

The RyMickey Rating:  D 

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