After receiving a prophecy from three witches, Macbeth the Thane of
Glamis murders the King of Scotland and takes the throne for himself.
The Tragedy of Macbeth (2021)
Written and Directed by Joel Coen
Starring Denzel Washington, Frances McDormand, Corey Hawkins, Bertie Carvel, Brendan Gleeson, Harry Melling, Kathryn Hunter
Based on the stage play by William Shakespeare
Oscar Nominations - Best Actor (Denzel Washington),
Best Cinematography, Best Production Design
This unique version of Shakespeare's classic tale of lust for glory and the cold steel of vengeance has been in the works for some time. I remember when it was first announced. Joel Coen, on his own, adapting Macbeth with Denzel Washington and Frances McDormand? Are you kidding? Sign me up! From the teaser trailers to the production stills, this thing looked spectacular. And those of you who follow the podcasts may know how little I care for film adaptations of Shakespeare. Except for Macbeth. There's something about this play that I find fascinating. The mixture of murder, black magic, ambition, revenge, and prophecy just speaks to me, and this version may be the best ever put to film.
Washington plays Macbeth, the ambitious Thane of Glamis who is told by three witches that he will one day be King of Scotland. Denzel is in top form, bringing out the humanity of the character and reveling in the madness. McDormand plays his wife, Lady Macbeth, who excels in being the power behind the throne and the whisper in the dark. The two of them are fantastic together, and they push through the Shakespeare language barrier to beautifully articulate his dialogue and tell the audience exactly what's happening through body language and fleeting glances. The supporting cast are all great as well, but it was these two who would determine the film's quality and pique an audience's interest. I also want to sing the praises of Kathryn Hunter, who was absolutely mesmerizing as the three witches.
The Tragedy of Macbeth is steeped in brilliant cinematography, remarkable production and costume design, and a haunting score that accentuates the horror inherent in this classic tale. This is coming from someone who doesn't really enjoy Shakespeare films. This one is the exception. I believe any film fan could take something away from it, from the performances to the themes of guilt and hysteria.