The real tragedy of "The Tragedy of Macbeth" is that it will be a challenge to get people to see it...the works of William Shakespeare while classic, are not exactly accessible.
But for those willing to let it in, or who are fans of Shakespeare, will find "The Tragedy of Macbeth" to be one of the most effective, spell-binding takes on the famous play ever committed to screen.
"Macbeth" is one of the most well-known Shakespearian productions, believed to first be performed in 1606. This color-blind version (not only is there a diverse cast, but the film is shot in stunning black-and-white) is benefitted by a stellar cast, with the title role being played by none other than Denzel Washington. Lady Macbeth is played by Oscar-magnet Frances McDormand, while Macduff is portrayed by Corey Hawkins. Stephen Root, Brendan Gleeson, Bertie Carvel, Matt Helm and Alex Hassell fill out the cast.
As the story goes, "Macbeth" is a cautionary tale about one's lust for power and the damage created by those that pursue it at all costs. Macbeth is given a prophesy by three witches (all three in this rendition are played by Kathryn Hunter) that he will become the King of Scotland. Helped by his wife, he does become King, but grows so paranoid and insecure that he commits treacherous acts one after the other. Soon his kingdom turns on him, and Macbeth eventually succumbs to the weight of his crown. It is a tragedy, after all.
"The Tragedy of Macbeth" is interpreted by none other than Joel Coen, one half of the famous directing duo (Ethan Coen sits this one out). But the real draw here is the production value, specifically the cinematography by Bruno Delbonnel (a five-time Oscar nominee for films like "Inside Llewyn Davis," "The Darkest Hour" and "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince) and the score by Carter Burwell (also a two-time Oscar nominee, for "Carol" and "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri"). It would be a travesty AND a tragedy if both aren't nominated again.
Still, this is a work of Shakespeare, and as much as I'd like to convince each and every person out there to give it a chance, many simply won't. But as far as screen adaptations of Macbeth go (and there have been more than a few), this is as good as it gets.
Genre: Drama, History.
Run Time: 1 hour 45 minutes.
Starring: Denzel Washington, Frances McDormand, Brendan Gleeson, Corey Hawkins, Bertie Carvel, Alex Hassell, Kathryn Hunter.
Based on the play by William Shakespeare.
Adapted and Directed by Joel Coen (first directorial feature without his brother Ethan Coen).
"The Tragedy of Macbeth" is available in limited theatrical release on Christmas Day 2021 and streaming on Apple TV+ starting Friday, January 14th, 2022.
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