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WILL AND ME: Macbeth (2010) Review

Updated on November 19, 2014
Original DVD cover for the film.
Original DVD cover for the film. | Source

MACBETH (2010) REVIEW:

CAST: Patrick Stewart, Kate Fleetwood, Martin Turner, Michael Feast, Scott Handy, Ben Carpenter, Paul Shelley, Suzanne Burden, Mark Rawlings, Tim Treloar, Bill Nash, Christopher Knott, Christopher Patrick Nolan, Bertie Gilbert.

CREATIVE TEAM:

Director—Rupert Goold

Producers—Mark Bell, Sebastian Grant, David Horn and John Wyver

Music—Adam Cork

Cinematography—Sam McCurdy

Production design—James Hendy and James Wakefield

Costume Design—Mike O'Neill

***

After reviewing two of the worst interpretations of Macbeth ever made, I would like to take the time acknowledge an interpretation that was actually unbelievably good. As I have previously stated, when I reviewed those terrible Macbeths, I was originally going to mark them as good, bad and brilliant, like what I did with three interpretations of Hamlet. But, I had to make a sudden change of plans (writing wise) when I saw that only one was brilliant and the other two were bad. Now that I got the bad versions out of the way, this is the version of Shakespeare’s tragedy that I was going to place into the “Brilliant” section of The Good, The Bad and The Brilliant review that never happened:

Set in Stalin’s Russia, this film adaptation is an AMAZING production, both visually and artistically. From a creative perspective, the direction of Rupert Goold is thrilling (much better than his work for The Hollow Crown), the cinematography of Sam McCurdy fits the text and the modernized setting perfectly (giving the surroundings character and a suspenseful atmosphere), the production design of James Hendy and James Wakefield is twisted and empty (giving a perfect metaphor to Macbeth’s psychotic and corrupted nature….though why most of the characters inhabit areas that resemble a recycled factory is kind of mind boggling if you look deeply into it), and the musical score of Adam Cork is something that really remains in your head for days to come (especially with his satanic rap version of “Double, double toil and trouble” recited by the witches. Boy that was clever!).

And from an acting perspective, the performances are first rate as well. But the most praise has got to go to the film’s leading actors: Sir Patrick Stewart and Kate Fleetwood. Stewart literally allows himself to sink into character. He inhabits the role to the point where you can’t help but question if you’re really watching the guy from X-Men and American Dad playing Macbeth or if you’re watching a film that proves the existence of the devil. (And I meant that as a compliment!) It’s an outstanding case of one person fading away and another taking over. A real-life Jekyll and Hyde situation if you will.

And Fleetwood is, so far, the only Lady Macbeth who excels. A lot of the Lady Macbeths I’ve seen this year were as wooden as a log cabin, not capturing the seductive, manipulative and cunning spirit that many scholars expect her to be. But Kate Fleetwood’s performance on the other hand has defied the odds and given us a Lady Macbeth that has seduction, manipulation, cunning and a towering personality, just the way the bard intended her to be. She is truly an actress that does her research before taking on a great Shakespearean villainess.

Compared with the Nunn and Brett versions, this is the better one. This is an interpretation that certainly deserves to be placed on the shelf with all the other great Shakespeare films ever made. It hits all the right notes (with an exception of The Porter being portrayed as a perverted alcoholic, and the very random killing spree that Macbeth’s men goes on after murdering Banquo, featuring the deaths of never before seen characters who die for unexplained reasons), and I highly recommend this to anyone with a passion for the work of the bard of Avon. It is 98 per cent perfect. (Remember: Porter; pointless killing spree—they lose 1 per cent each for making the film slightly awkward.)

Sir Patrick Stewart as Macbeth.
Sir Patrick Stewart as Macbeth. | Source

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