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Sunday January 24, 2016 1:00pm
Rainbow Theatre, Northumberland Mall, Cobourg

macbethThis visually-stunning film is an adaptation of William Shakespeare's famous play about Macbeth (played by Michael Fassbender), a Scottish lord and inspiring leader who takes control of the throne with the assistance of his power-hungry wife (Marion Cotillard) but is brought low by ambition and desire. 

A thrilling interpretation of the dramatic realities of the times and a reimagining of what wartime must have been like for one of Shakespeare's most famous and compelling characters, a story of all-consuming passion and ambition set in war torn 11th Century Scotland.

Leads: Michael Fassbender, Marion Cotillard, Elizabeth Debicki, Sean Harris, David Thewlis, Jack Reynor
Directed By: Justin Kurzel
Genre: Shakespeare  Language: English
Runtime:  1 hr. 53 min.  Rating:  R

Review by Louise Keller:

A powerful visceral statement in which imagery and music almost overshadow the dialogue, Justin Kurzel's Macbeth is a stunning and ambitious piece of cinema, capturing the essence of Shakespeare's classic tragedy about power, madness and death. The adaptation by Jacob Koskoff, Todd Louiso and Michel Lesslie is loose with key elements from the play rearranged.

macbethHaving been brought to prominence by his non-compromising Snowtown in 2011 about the gruesome bodies in barrels murders, Kurzel goes for broke, delivering a savage, raw film that delivers its message, despite some of the dialogue being hard to decipher, due to broad Scottish accents and the track mix with the key soundscape by his brother Jed Kurzel. The soundscape is a character of its own, with its often monotonic hum and wailing confusion of strings (at times reminiscent of bagpipes) that joust with the timbre of a percussive beat.

Key to the action are the defining performances by Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard, who place their own stamp on the power-hungry Macbeth and his lady wife who encourages her husband's murderous aspirations. We already know what Fassbender is capable of, whereas Cotillard never ceases to surprise with her steely resolve countered by an outpouring of emotions. When she weeps; we weep. There's strong sexual energy between the two and Fassbender epitomizes the warrior of Kurzel's construct.

The eerie opening scene in which Macbeth and his wife grieve over their dead child is followed by a ghostly mist that filters through the somber sky like ethereal horses dancing on the moors. The setting is bleak and cold; the warriors adorn their war paint; there's a clank of metal before the macbethrumbling war cry as they run into violent battle; slow-motion sequences accentuating the bloody barbarity of the scene. The three witches, with their predictions that Macbeth will be king make their ghostly appearances on the moors shortly thereafter. Lady Macbeth's ambition and encouragement ensure the bloody deed is done: the brutal stabbing death of King Duncan (David Thewlis).

I like the way Kurzel has juxtaposed images of the stabbing as the regal crown is placed on Macbeth's head as if to depict the great cost of power. There are many memorable moments including Lady Macbeth's 'What is done cannot be undone' speech, when tears pour from her eyes like liquid grief.

The entire production is striking, topped off by a stylized red camera filter in the final sequence, which may be at odds with the rest of the film, but somehow it works. Stunning.