The Tragedy of Macbeth

The Tragedy of Macbeth ★★★

The Tragedy of Macbeth is a visually enthralling film with excellent performances from the likes of Denzel Washington, Frances McDormand and Kathryn Hunter.

I hope this has been a fulfilling box ticking exercise for Joel Coen, his visual work here is impeccable and his team do an excellent job setting up and utilizing the minimalist sets. Coen's work is deeply mature, but with that maturity he's missing his unique sensibility and the ingenious ambience that make his and Ethan's films so special. Other than the fantastic technical work and fresh performances I can't imagine the film adding much to the cinematic catalogue of Shakespeare adaptations. The film was never going to be as innovative or as memorable as THRONE OF BLOOD and the language was never going to overwhelm anyone because we have seen it before.

When directly compared to other Macbeth adaptations the storytelling feels slightly more rushed and lackadaisical, the film is much more airy than I expected despite the tight production design. The dense but tight ambience of the film reminded me of ORDET. The film certainly deserved attention during award season for the cinematography, production and costume design and performances but comprehensively I struggle to see The Tragedy of Macbeth as anything more than a spectacular visual exercise.

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