Director: Justin Kurzel
Cast: Michael Fassbender, Marion Cotillard, Sean Harris
Spoilers Within: No

Originally posted 25th January 2016 on Letterboxd.

With every retelling of a Shakespeare tragedy, a brand new reason for its existence must be given in order to justify the director’s specific vision.

Luckily Justin Kurzel’s manages to prove that his version ofMacbeth is warranted by a simple glancing. Adam Arkapaw’s cinematography is breathtaking: painting a unique picture of the rolling Scottish landscapes with such massive scope for a small, focused and echoed story. The beauty of the visceral battle scenes against the contradictory panoramas is of such huge expertise that it was impossible to find boredom in the vistas, even when the countenance of Fassbender and Cotillard came into frame.


That’s not to say the two leads are anything less than electrifying, but it’s hard to focus on their dramas when the back- or foreground are so visually diverting. This is not negativity either, but rather my suggestive attempt at giving full appreciation to the visual masterwork on show.

The entire cast is superb, each of them fully diving into their roles as powerfully as they can and delivering the – sometimes incomprehensible – linguistic flairs native to all Shakespeare’s works. Kurzel and co. bravely and thankfully refuse to make concessions for those unfamiliar with the story or the archaic dialogue, instead indulging in an adaptation that is visually and intellectually invigorating. As with every new iteration of the story, it becomes less and less essential, but here has been crafted a well-balanced and mesmerising addition that makes it a worthwhile cinematic feast.

Grade: B