I don’t normally visit the cinema these days, but I had to make an exception for Justin Kerzel’s new film of Macbeth. Against a beautiful backdrop of scenery, filled with rich colours, the play runs its course in a compelling production, beginning with the burial of the couple’s child: an artistic liberty which lends depth to the Macbeths’ characters and influences Lady Macbeth in particular.
Michael Fassbender is very strong as Macbeth, entirely believable as a successful army leader and compelling as he is steeped deeper and deeper into bloody betrayal. Marion Cotillard is superb as Lady Macbeth, compelling in her wickedness and human and sympathetic in her grief. Her “mad” scene in particular, which sees her return to her former home and deliver her speech quietly, crouching on the floor, seeing the figure of her child playing before her, is touching and sad.
The play has been cut to fit into its two-hour running time, and it flows superbly. I particularly liked the ending of the film, with its insinuation that the Scottish throne itself is cursed and the bloodshed will continue. An excellent addition to the canon of filmed Shakespeare.