MACBETH – REVIEW: Michael Fassbender murky, mumbling and murderous Scottish noble mucks about in the mist.
Justin Kurzel – of Snowtown fame – directs a new adaptation of one of Shakespeare’s most popular plays. Already creditably served by an Orson Welles version and Rom Polanski’s bloody take, Kurzel’s Macbeth is a beautifully rendered piece of out and out gloom. Set in the cold forbidding boglands of Scotland and in a period aggressively Dark Aged, Fassbender is the Laird who, with the goading of Witches and wife (Marion Cotillard), decides to hasten his upward mobility with some judicious well placed stabbing.
If there is one criticism, it might be that the film is utterly drained of humor – the Porter scene (never actually funny, truth be told) being cut – and so is effectively a one note piece, a drone that is matched by the percussive, internal organ liquidating soundtrack. And yet like the music, it also holds a hypnotic power as blood is waded through and ambition leads to atrocity and on to destruction. Fassbender’s troubled soldier descends into madness and the whole world seems so consumed by blood, violence, sound and fury, that even the possibility of goodness seems to have had its throat cut late one moonless night.
The performances are all suitably intense, the direction and photography stylish, but it’s the screenplay that really deserves some praise. This guy can write.