Walking into the cinema...
How does Shakespeare continue to dominate cinema? A language of yesteryear and by-gone cultures, but the timelessness of his work continues to show how little mankind has changed over the years. The question is can Michael Fassbender carry the mantle of the greats who have taken on this role in the past?
Overall Rating: 3 stars
Cinematic rating: 4 stars
Bigger questions rating: 3 stars
Do you remember your English Literature class and the infamous line, 'Out, damned spot?' Lady Macbeth's struggle with guilt and regret that epitomises the narrative of Shakespeare’s drama. Macbeth is a classic storyline that involves revenge, murder, mental illness and betrayal. For those who may have missed that week on The Bard’s play, here is a basic summery. The central character Macbeth (Michael Fassbender) is a duke of Scotland and an accomplished leader of men on the battlefield. After a key victory for his king and country, he receives a prophecy from a trio of witches that one day he would become King of Scotland. During the celebration of his victory, he remains consumed by this vision and eventually conspires with his wife (Marion Cotillard) to make this vision a reality. Their plot leads to a series of events that end with the assassination of the king and Macbeth's eventual ascension to the throne. Throughout the transition to kingship, Macbeth and his lady suffer through the mental anguish of their evil choices that brought them to power. Ultimately showing that what is done in secret will eventually be exposed.
Michael Fassbender plays one of the most bloody and visceral of Shakespeare's theatrical creations and is exceptionally tantalising in the role. His portrayal as the tragic king is mesmerising. He effectively leads this film with the support of an incredible cast that delivers on the expectation of this timeless tale. Director Justin Kurzel (The King's Speech) provides a modern spin on this classic tale of murder and deception. Even though the slow motion sequences do become tiresome, over all, he utilises the Scottish landscape as another character to capture the look and feel of horror that comes from this story of betrayal. The material and the talent provide the needed lift for this murky journey into the depths of human emotion. For those who are not familiar with this time-honoured story, be aware that Macbeth is exceptionally violent and contains disturbing themes.The biggest challenge for this film will be breaking out of the English department at the local university and into the hearts of the general populace. It might seem sacrilegious to challenge the usage of this classic dialect, but know that the critique is not of the content of the script. The challenge is found in modern ears. People have difficulty understanding this bygone era’s application of the English language. The Shakespearean wording is for the classically trained in theatrical productions, but makes for a difficult cinematic experience. Watching this drama gave off the feeling of 'enjoy it, because it is good for you. Whenever something has the 'it is good for you' label, it tends to be difficult to swallow. Albeit it is beautifully adapted for the silver screen, it might be a stretch for people to understand or enjoy the experience. Not to be misunderstood, this film was entertaining and faithful to the source material, but lacks enough of a modern spin to connect with modern audiences.
Trailer for the film
Leaving the cinema...
To appreciate the classic tale, it is worth knowing the story prior to entering the theatre. For the Shakespeare purists, this will be satisfying, but for the general audiences this will be hard to understand.
REEL DIALOGUE: What are some of the bigger questions to consider from this film?
1. What does the Bible say about guilt? (Psalm 103:11-12, 1 John 1:9)
2. Can we ever find justice? (Proverbs 21:15, Romans 12:19)
3. What does the Bible say about aspiring to leadership? (Jeremiah 29:11, John 16:33)
Written by Russell Matthews based on a five star rating system @ Russelling Reviews #russellingreviews #macbethfilm