Joel Coen, William Shakespeare
Denzel Washington, Frances McDormand, Alex Hassell
Drama, History, Thriller
Rated: R for violence
Would you like to see a Shakespeare play done by A24? Would you like it to star Denzel Washington as Macbeth? How about if it was directed by one half of the Coen brothers? If you’ve answered yes to any of these questions then you are in for a treat. This is the classic story told in a new yes authentic way that feels poetic, epic, and completely unto itself.
Denzel Washington inhabits the character with immense power and gravitas. Paired with Frances McDormand as Lady Macbeth this is a master class in acting by two incredible actors. Supporting cast includes Alex Hassell, Brendan Gleeson, Corey Hawkins, Kathryn Hunter, Stephen Root, and many more that all are performing on another level that can only be described as pinnacle acting. I can go on about each performance but to say this wouldn’t be nominated for best actor, actress, ensemble, would be laughable.
That being said, Shakespeare is well… Shakespeare. The dialogue is beautiful but a challenge for younger audiences to engage with no doubt. Even at times it took me by surprise by how little I knew of a certain phrase but it also is beautifully spoken. The set design is incredibly well done, like it could be a stage play, but also towering, all encompassing, and simple. The use of lighting within the black and white color scheme is magnificent, and you feel like you are both watching an old film but with much more behind the scenes tech to make it feel modern.
I’m not the biggest fan of Shakespeare plays, or even movie adaptations (See West Side Story) but this film did stick with me in the days past watching. Do in with an open mind and willingness to adapt to a different way of speaking. and The Tragedy of Macbeth is one I would recommend.