I love Shakespeare, but I’m not a purist who insists that everything should be done as ‘written’ by Will himself. So it didn’t bother me that things had been ‘cut’ for the screenplay here – in fact, often it’s totally necessary to help a play make the successful move from stage to screen.

And with top class actors of the like of Michael Fassbender, Marion Cotillard, Paddy Considine and Sean Harris to work with, this should have been a walk in the park.

Yet I found this oddly lacking in emotion to the point where I was bored. The decision to bookend with battlefield scenes certainly allowed some stunning photography, I will give it that. But the crux of the story isn’t about the battlefield – it’s about power, and ambition, and the toll that can take on the mind. I didn’t feel anything more than a little unrest from Macbeth, and a chasm where the passion between Fassbender and Cotillard should have been.

Banquo’s young son Fleance had a puzzled expression on his face the entire time he was on screen. I was with him – I, too, had no idea why soliloquies were being delivered to boys, with the result that I was pulled out of the narrative.

People sometimes say they don’t like Shakespeare because they don’t understand the language. My feeling is that if the actors are delivering the lines properly, then you don’t even realise it’s odd. And though I know the story of Macbeth, I struggled to keep up with what was going on in this version because it seemed like the actors themselves didn’t have a handle on the language – in particular Fassbender and Cotillard, surprisingly. I don’t for one moment think that Fassbender can’t do Shakespeare – but I do think that whatever he thought he was doing, or had been asked to do, did not translate to the screen.

Dare I say it, the great man’s Scottish accent even slipped once or twice, and Marion Cotillard just seemed lost.

Don’t even get me started on the weird sisters …


One thought on “Macbeth

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