Fassbender and Macbeth: A Tragedy? Not At All.
Tuesday 27th October 2015 | Sam
If you're after a modern day, joyous, Disney-esque sing-along of a film, you could not be in a worse place right now. Justin Kurzel's Macbeth is a cold, dark, unupdated version of William Shakespeare's world-famous tragedy. With Michael Fassbender as the titular role, in what many are saying is the role of a lifetime for the Irish/German star, we are treated with a brutal story which does not stray far from the original telling.
Sticking to the Script:
Sticking to the original Shakespeare script was a bold move by Kurzel that paid off; many directors would have chosen to update the script at least a little, however, it is clear that he wants his film to be considered a piece of art rather than just another blockbuster film churned out in order to make a quick buck. The whole film is visually stunning, with picturesque mountains surrounding desolate battlefields, we see the horror of Shakespearean violence set against the beauty of Scotland's highlands. The slow motion battle scenes are expertly placed on eary, fog-filled plains to stick as close to the original script as possible; the creepy witches are an everpresent during the fighting, lurking in the misty background, watching their predictions unfold.
Fassbender's portrayal of the infamous Macbeth underlines his immense thespian talents; not only can he convey the raw emotion needed to show the demise of Macbeth's mental state, but his Scottish brogue is so thick and well-rehearsed that, coupled with the Shakespearean language, at times I could barely understand what he was saying. Saying that, I have never heard a cinema audience so quiet, not a rustling wrapper or drink slurp within earshot. The emotion-filled monologues of Fassbender's Macbeth and his counterpart, Marion Cotillard's Lady Macbeth left the audience awe-struck, almost paralysed to their seats whilst the tragedy unfolded. At times it felt like I was at the theatre watching a high-production of the Shakespeare classic; it truly was a surreal cinema trip.
With the Oscar-race hotting up, both Fassbender and Cotillard have definitely put themselves in serious contention for the Best Actor/ Actress gong. However, if you are looking for a film experience that leaves you feeling overwhelmed with joy or awash with inspiration, maybe this film is not for you. It does requires some serious concentration in order to understand what's going on, one glance away from the screen could leave you feeling massively lost (it happened to me once or twice). But if you want to appreciate a beautifully-shot tragedy unfold in a cinema experience that you will never have witnessed before, then Macbeth is a must-see for you.