He dares to become all that may become an actor; Who dares to act more is none. Michael Fassbender steps outside of the mainstream cinema zeitgeist and gives an emotional, raw and moving performance as Macbeth. There’s murder, madness and more in Shakespeare’s play about a man who is told by witches he shall become king. The movie chose a single theme and that is no man born of woman can kill Macbeth. This works very well for visual storytelling and allows the audience the pleasure of watching a king fall into a psychotic mental state that eventually leads to his death.
Director Justin Kurzel delivers one of the most glorious looking films I’ve seen. He didn’t just film the actors up close or from engaging angles, he used the entire landscape as a device for telling this story. Long sweeping camera angles that slowly zoom in on the characters and creating an entire world, not just a scene. Breathtaking is a word that I can use to describe the cinematography in Macbeth. The usage of smoke, clouds and color to add suspense and heighten emotions was splendid. Additionally, Justin doesn’t shy away from close ups. In one scene we are experiencing all the raw human emotion of the queen as the camera holds tight on her face while she monologues. As Lady Macbeth, Marion Cotillard delivers her lines while showing emotional changes with the realization of events occurring in her life and her kings. This might be one of the best looking films of the year.
The extras in this film were also exceptional. When Macbeth is about to burn the family, including children, at the stake and the camera sweeps across his subjects you see terror, sadness, disgust and anger on the faces of all the actors who have zero speaking lines. Their faces provided all the emotion to let us know that the King is tyrannical and losing the loyalty of his countrymen. This was another device used to create a world that was rich and complex.
Michael Fassbender as Macbeth was one of the best performances of the year. Acting out Shakespeare is no easy task and to play a character who loses himself, goes insane and carries a bloodlust is a herculean task. Fassbender does it wonderfully. The paranoia, the rage, the madness, the psychotic is all present on screen and while it might be a challenge to follow the story as it’s spoken in old English, you can enjoy the visual aspect of story telling on screen with ease.
My only complaint regarding this film was the witches. They didn’t do anything for me with regards to the story. They appeared like poor peasant girls who looked stoned all the time. They didn’t have great mystery around them and often they would show up and disappear which made their appearances feel forced. I wanted more from their characters in all regards.
Macbeth is in Theaters now! I give this film all the toil and trouble a witch could brew if the witches actually looked like mystics. The actors are excellent, the cinematography exceptional and the story classic. If you can find this film in a theater near you I recommend a viewing. It might not be everyones cup of tea but the film is visually stunning and worth seeing on the big screen.
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