Macbeth is now showing at the Garden City Cinema in Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire.
Directed by Australian Justin Kurzel and starring Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard as Macbeth and Lady Macbeth and both are utterly fantastic.
Macbeth is one of Shakespeare’s best plays, while historically inaccurate it’s a deliciously dark story. Murder, madness, betrayal, ghosts and witches; what’s not to like?
Macbeth starts not on the battlefield but with a burial. The son of Macbeth and his wife. This opening sets the tone and provides something of an explanation for the coming Horrors. A couple struck by grief and a husband traumatised by the Horrors of battle.
Macbeth and his friend Banquo, generals in the army, meet a trio of witches on the battlefield who tell Macbeth that he will become the King of Scotland. He tells his wife about the encounter and she encourages him to murder King Duncan and take his place on the throne.
I couldn’t take my eyes off Fassbender as Macbeth, it’s a powerful performance.
When he delivers the line “Oh, full of scorpions is my mind” his teary eyes and manic grin make you almost feel the tiny scratching legs inside your own head.
His reaction to seeing ghosts of the people murdered by his demand is one of genuine fear and confusion. He keeps you glued to the screen.
This version, having included the death of Macbeth’s son adds an extra layer to his desire to wipe out the bloodlines of his enemies as part of his revenge against those who have turned against him during his mad reign.
Lady Macbeth is such an important character in literature and Cotillard is fantastic, her quest for power and legacy have led her down a dark path but she’s more sympathetic and vulnerable in this version. The death of their child at the beginning of the film drives her desire for some kind of legacy and her grief has twisted her logic to include murder as a viable option.
She’s still Lady Macbeth though, she’s devious and cunning. Cotillard does a wonderful job of showing her obvious frustrations; her husband crumbling under the strain of their various betrayals. Quiet rage at his steady undoing of their wicked plans.
Paddy Considine, David Thewlis and Sean Harris are excellent as supporting characters Banquo Duncan and Macduff. All with damn near perfect Scottish accents!
The script has been stripped down to the bones, large sections and some characters have been removed but it’s still Macbeth.
The film is more visually arresting than I was expecting, so beautiful, you can almost taste the ash in the air, smell the sweat and blood of battle. The mysterious weird sisters who appear in the mist are wonderfully unnerving, the tribal scars on their faces are a nice touch.
Macbeth is a wild, raw film with a distinctive style that is hard to ignore. I urge you to go see it, it’s well worth the trip was the cinema.
Click here to book your tickets to see Macbeth at the Garden City Cinema.