RETELLING any work originally created by the man widely considered to be the greatest writer in the history of the English language is always risky.
But that’s exactly what Australian director Justin Kurzel is attempting in Macbeth.
This is a film that brings the darkness, so evident in William Shakespeare’s tragedy, very much to the fore. Forget about moments of lightness or levity here.
The hugely watchable Michael Fassbender, who virtually stole Prometheus as the android, David, will no doubt deliver one of his stellar performances in the role, if not the greatest of his career.
You might even argue that this is theÂ part he’s been waiting for — very few roles will carry as much weight or allow him to flex his acting muscles as much as this.
The story of aÂ king driven to murder and madness, spurred on by his scheming wife, is all here but presented with remarkable style and vision.
Macbeth is a man of war: we see him at the centre of the carnage in climactic, eye-popping battle scenes.
While in a strangely calm trance, he meets a troupe of witches who foretell his future, saying that one day he will become King of Scotland.
Consumed by ambition, he is intrigued when the prophecy starts to come true.
But it is his wife, Lady Macbeth — Oscar winner Marion Cotillard — who takes the initiative and hatches a plot to kill beloved King Duncan and seize his crown by force.
The cast, which also includes David Thewlis,Â Sean Harris and Paddy Considine, giveÂ superb performances, delivering dialogue with spellbinding, understated intensity.
Kurzel infuses the 12th century setting with dread, paranoia and violence, bringing Shakespeare’s words chillingly to life.
Macbeth is now showing at Henley’s Regal Picturehouse.
Review: David White