Movie Review | Foul Is Fair And Fair Is Michael Fassbender as Macbeth

And it really doesn’t get much better than this.

Macbeth remains one of Shakespeare’s best work. The Scottish play, like many other Shakespeare’s master pieces, depicts humanity so truly, honestly and raw it is relatable to many of us. Although this play follows the tragic story, the rise and fall, of Macbeth, the underlying themes of power, desire, courage and greed among others are just as applicable to any of us as to the main characters. Shakespeare’s works really do connect with humanity’s deepest corner. For a piece of story to be told continuously for such a long time, it must connect with people; there has to be common ground in order for others to understand, and yet, the meanings never got old.

Intense
Miachael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard share a scene in Macbeth.
Finding common ground is tricky; having seen too many examples of movie adaptation with mediocre results, it is hard not to be at least a little bit skeptical of Justin Kurzel’s latest work. This movie, however, falls right into the other end of the movie rating spectrum; entering the realm of greatness, connecting with audiences every single second. Not even ten minutes since the start of the movie, I was already convinced that this was a masterpiece. The powerful performance from a stellar cast including Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard; the energetic yet emotional music by Jed Kurzel that makes anyone’s heart skip a beat; the stunning (a massive understatement) cinematography; the majestic back drop of Scotland and the intricate details of the costumes all came together at just the perfect dosage to create this unforgettable piece of cinema.

Michael Fassbender Macbeth
Macbeth crowned as King of Scotland.
As the title character, Michael Fassbender portrayed a believable Macbeth. He was full of emotions; anger, courage, lust for power, sadness, loneliness and defeat. His emotions were felt through the screen, making the audience empathizes with him. His co-star Marion Cotillard, who played Lady Macbeth, was nothing short of spectacular, gave new meaning to the power of persuasion and having a corrupted mind. We see the rise of both these characters and their demise as the result of their own actions through the beautiful body of work by the exceptionally talented pair of actors.

One of the perks of making a movie adaptation is the chance for fresh interpretation of the source material. There are two scenes in particular that stood out with Kurzel’s version of Macbeth (spoiler alert).

  1. Macbeth and Lady Macbeth were having sex when plotting the assassination of King Duncan. Although no skin were shown (is that even possible in a sex scene?), this made me wanted to look away. Not because of the raunchiness, but of how twisted the idea of Lady Macbeth using sex to persuade her husband to murder his King (sex can be powerful though).
  2. During the famous scene of Macbeth’s dagger hallucination; the dagger was being held in the hands of the ghost of a young soldier who died in the opening battle. Was this a hint that the hallucination was the result of years in the battle field, accelerated by Macbeth’s unfulfilled desire for more power? Did the wars finally crazed and scared Macbeth?

This is one of the few movies when the emotions lingers with me long after the lights come on. The overall tone of movie is consistent with the original play; dark, grim and bleak, exploring the shortcomings of humanity and their consequences. At the same time, it provided a glimpse of hope that the good in all of us could eventually conquer evilness, although in many cases with great costs.

Scotland
The majestic setting in Scotland.
All images taken from Macbeth’s official site.

Macbeth Movie (2015) Gallery [image]. Retrieved from http://www.macbeth-movie.com/gallery

 

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