This isn't your parents Macbeth. That is abundantly clear from the very first scene. The story of Shakespere's Macbeth has captured our imagination for generations but none have told it quite the way as director Justin Kurzel does. This version of the tragic tale of greed, lust and revenge takes a more 21st century view. While leaving us in a time when bloodlust and treacherous regime changes were commonplace.
While Kurzel's view of Macbeth doesn't stray too far from its original source it does take certain liberties on how certain events play out. Those who are familiar with the plot might find themselves wondering if this is Kurzel's version of Game of Thrones as the film and the book do not always line up. Even though the ending remains the same.
The scenes are not all that gory by Hollywood standards but on occasion does have some cringe worthy moments. It isn't a brutal movie just to be brutal as every bloody scene is essential to the overall plot. Each battle scene is brilliantly choreographed and is not so fast paced that those watching can't enjoy every second of the action. Most of the battle scenes have parts that are in semi-slow motion with the main character Macbeth drifting seamlessly in and out of battle mode almost as if he is having an out of body experience while the action is going on around him. This is brilliantly done as the battle scenes are by far the most entertaining parts of the movie.
The surrounding environment is truly a spectacle to behold as each scene depicts a different form of landscape. Whether it is fog, fire or snow covered hills or mountains Kurzel managed to depict Scotland as a serene environment that is as untamed as the characters in his story. In all respects, Macbeth is a beautiful movie from the environment, to the way the characters are portrayed onscreen.
Michael Fassbender put on an impressive performance. His portrayal of Macbeth was one for the ages and hopefully will help land him more prominent roles in the future. He really is an underrated actor that is great in every role but doesn't get the credit that he deserves.
Even as Macbeth descends into madness, the audience keeps hoping that somehow, someway he will find a small speck of redemption. This isn't due to sympathy for Macbeth but, instead centers around the depiction of how the character is portrayed by Fassbender.
Unlike many other incarnations of Macbeth, Fassbender's version doesn't seem to struggle with his sins. In fact, it doesn't take much to get him to commit all kinds of atrocities. At first, it is his wife who is pulling the strings but once he gets his first taste of power the fault lies squarely on his shoulders. Macbeth isn't the noble hero who strays from the path of righteousness due to the whispers of an ambitious wife but, instead he has the making of a brutal tyrant even before he takes the crown. One thing that does differentiate this version of Macbeth from any other is that it isn't guilt that brings about bouts of insanity but instead his horrid actions stem from a form of post traumatic disorder due to the loss of his child and the countless young soldiers that he fought beside that he watched die in combat.
Many of the scenes that involve deceased characters or witches are left up to the audience to decide whether they believe them to be figments of a disturbed mind or actual people surrounding Macbeth at any given moment. Right when you think that they are real, certain actions taken by Macbeth bring you to the conclusion that all of this might have just have been all in his head.
Macbeth does have its flaws as the dialogue feels meant more for a Broadway production rather than a movie. It really takes away the believability of the scenes when you have the average person speaking in such a poetic tone that would give cassanova a run for his money.
Then there is the strong accents that you can barely distinguish what they are saying. This is an unnecessary problem that could have been easily solved if only they had only slightly toned down the realism. That isn't to say that a slight Scottish accent isn't preferred but nobody enjoys movies where the characters need subtitles.
Everyone knows that Macbeth slowly goes insane from all the horrific deeds he has to commit to get the crown but his assent into madness was rushed and almost from the beginning he was suffering from grand delusions. There was no sense of interest in the man that was Macbeth as his character was poorly introduced and the only version we saw of him was the sadistic one. His backstory was never properly fleshed out and the motivation for his actions were rather vague. Did he murder because of the prophecy or because of his wife's encouragement? This should have been explained better so that we could of at least understood his motivation for committing such acts of barbarity.
Macbeth had potential but in the end suffered from a rushed plot. Fassbender was truly a bright spot as his version of the title character was the best one yet. If only the script had allowed for more time to understand who Fassbender's Macbeth really was, we might be talking about one of the best renditions of the story so far. Unfortunately, it is nothing more than an above-average film that had massive potential but in the end falls short because the director didn't understand how to properly portray the story that he wanted to tell.