The Tragedy of Macbeth (2021)

Joel Coen directs Denzel Washington, Frances McDormand and Corey Hawkins in this black and white Shakespearean adaptation of the Scottish play.

A Coen Brother does Shakespeare. That’s going to be an instant five stars. Denzel plays Macbeth. That has to be a must see. Frances McDormand plays Lady Macbeth. Take! My! Money! The actual result. Perfectly alright. Strange watching a Joel Coen movie about murder which contains zero tension and minimal set pieces. The story does not flow, even if each scene bleeds into each other in a bold, playful way. You kinda watch knowing all the big lines and scenes will have their spotlight. And this spotlight is harsh. Recalling in every shot German Expressionism, Kurosawa and Welles… we watch characters trapped in the abstract, rattling around claustrophobic mazes of clean lines and deep shadows. Powdery, stark, undetailed. It looks wonderful. Every frame a painting, an infinite stage unstuck from any audience’s vantage point. Washington and McDormand are both fine, making their marks even when the text is a bit rushed and recited. Yet it is the unknowns who really steal the crown. Kathryn Hunter’s unnerving take on the witches will be difficult to forget. Her creepy broken voice seems to be playing from inside your head rather than any Dolby speaker. Alex Hassel’s unfixable Ross proves equally as supernatural and untrustworthy. And Carter Burwell was born to score a bard’s tragedy, so there’s that.


Perfect Double Bill: Throne Of Blood (1957)

Check out my wife Natalie’s Point Horror blog

We also do a podcast together called The Worst Movies We Own. It is available on Spotify or here

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