By the pricking of thy thumbs, something wicked this way comes.
Shakespeare’s famous Scottish play has been adapted to silver screen by Academy-Award winning director, Joel Cohen in The Tragedy of Macbeth. For those of you unaware of this famous tale, Macbeth is a Scottish lord (Denzel Washington), who sets out to become King after hearing a vision from three witches.
For those who aren’t aware, Macbeth is one of my favorite plays. This film adaptation has been one of my most highly anticipated films of 2021 from the moment casting was announced. Unfortunately, the film was not in my to my area…until today.
So yes. This is how I started 2022. With blood, revenge, ambition and no regrets.
And I am thrilled to report that The Tragedy of Macbeth surpassed all expectations. Joel Cohen has crafted the most authentic and powerful Shakespearean adaptations I have ever seen. It’s a brilliant experience — a hybrid between theatre and film. I felt like I was in the front of the pit of The Globe Theatre, absolutely lost in the experience.
Which is a lot in part from Bruno Delbonnel’s masterful German expressionist-inspired cinematography. To say the aesthetic he created is breathtaking would be an understatement. Starkly contrasted shots on minimalistic sets feel like hypnotic paintings. I will riot if this man doesn’t take home an Oscar because I have not seen anything so beautifully shot.
What I always love about Shakespeare (and I guess all theatre in general) is that you don’t need an extravagant production to make it a powerful story — you just need solid performers.
And with the beautiful words of Shakespeare being performed by two of the most renowned actors of our time, it’s safe to say that the story was in remarkable hands.
Washington is an explosive tour de force as Macbeth. His anger, power and torment of the titular role is exhilarating. And when you match that with McDormand’s intensity as Lady Macbeth, well folks, you get the toxic Macbeth power couple of your theatre dreams.
However, it is Kathryn Hunter’s performance as the “three weird sisters” that blew me away.
More often than not (or at least in every production I’ve seen of Macbeth), the weird sisters are performed in sort of cliché manner — like more serious versions of the Sanderson Sisters from Hocus Pocus. But Kathryn Hunter’s haunting and visceral performance will leave you sufficiently creeped out.
The Tragedy of Macbeth will be available on Apple+ later this month, but if you have the opportunity to catch it on the big screen — do it.
Final Thoughts: Coen’s otherworldly adaptation of Macbeth would make Shakespeare proud. A sure fire classic and must-see for all theatre fans.