The Tragedy of Macbeth; Grade: B
The Tragedy of Macbeth tells a story about a Scottish Lord by the name of Macbeth (Denzel Washington), who is convinced by a trio of witches that he shall be the next king of Scotland. Macbeth over hears who’s destined to become the king of Scotland, Macbeth is extremely furious by what he overheard. Macbeth’s wife Lady Macbeth (Frances McDormand) loves the idea of Macbeth being king, as he fully supports him in achieving this title, even when it’s done sinfully. Macbeth goes on a murderous rampage of killing the current King, along with some others as Macbeth then becomes king. However Macbeth will deal with some complications including being haunted by visions, as he’ll endure many enemies planing to kill the tyrant known as Macbeth.
This is yet another one of my most anticipated films of the year, I mean I drove thirty minutes out of my way to see this film in a theater so I was pumped up. The Tragedy of Macbeth not only was an A24 film, but it’s an A24 film that featured Denzel Washington, Frances McDormand, and Joel Coen ½ of The Coen Brothers… I feel like a kid in the candy store. The film is based off a play by William Shakespeare, I’m only familiar with Shakespeare solely on his name and kids cartoon shows reenacting comedic episodes inspired by Shakespeare… I kind of have an idea of what I was getting myself into, however I did not have a full understanding on what I was getting myself into.
This can easily be a film in which can be easily turned off by a lot of viewers, as I can completely understand. The English language presented in the dialogue… Oh my, it really felt like listening to an entire different language. As the first lines of dialogue were delivered, I was pretty stunned by how I struggled immensely to comprehend what the hell this woman said?! It feels like honestly majority of the film, you really have to pay close attention to everything involved in this film… This is not a scroll on your phone kind of film, you really have to have your eyes glued on this film, follow along, as you try your best to comprehend what’s going on. I love challenges in film, but for today’s movie goers… They’re going to either hate this or turn it off early, I saw a couple leave early while attending this as I understand.
I understand why these are often presented in school plays or a theater hall performance, than being presented as a theatrical film… They work better there, than on the big screen. This material is more suitable towards live performers, the challenge in executing a Shakespeare play is more of an actors performance than it is being watched for a story purpose. There’s a reason why actors/actresses love performing this kind of material… It’s an immense challenge within itself, that takes a lot of hard work and discipline, I can see these actors/actresses work effortlessly on this material for months.
Watching Tragedy of Macbeth felt like a challenge, however taking on that challenge felt rewarding as I actually liked this film.
Presentation wise: This is a gorgeous looking film. I loved the black and white choice, majority of the visuals were superb, lovely set design as well as it complimented the medieval times extremely well. Costume Design especially was well done as well, all around it’s definitely a superb visual experience that’s for sure.
In order for Tragedy of Macbeth to work as discussed earlier, it must be performance driven as the cast involved needs to be on their A-Game due to the challenging material given. I thought the cast was outstanding overall, a lot of great performances in this film. Especially with our lead character Macbeth played by Denzel Washington as perhaps this is his best performance I’ve seen from him in years, as he was honestly the best thing about this entire film for me. Denzel puts on a SHOW in this film, especially during his sequences of frustration and anger as those were my favorite moments out of his performance, Denzel retains his BAD MAN status with this performance that’s for sure.
The story at hand maybe a bit challenging due to the fact the dialogue for a fair amount of the run time is hard to comprehend at times, however as I followed along with what’s happening… The story despite my difficulties, I thought it was thoroughly engaging. To me it felt like one whom was destined to be king, instead of inheriting his throne the honorable way, he instead takes on the dishonorable way which leads to flat out tyranny. Becoming a tyrant is honestly no good for not only the people you’re leading but also horrible for your soul as well, as in the end of all things tyranny must come to an end at some point as it never lasts. Plus inheriting a status the dishonorable way leads to vivid nightmares, as Macbeth does occasionally encountered vivid haunting images, it’s best to lead a true and honest life instead of a false one. I would like to point out that the few action sequences taken place in the story… I was really surprised by how epic they were despite being executed in a small scale, I was really impressed and flat out entertained by all of them.
Overall, The Tragedy of Macbeth was a solid film. I recommend checking this one out on Apple TV Plus or checking this out in a theater as it’s definitely a film worth seeing on a theatrical setting, however be warned this is definitely not for everyone and you have to PAY ATTENTION while seeing this film or else you’re going to be completely lost. -Mitch Smietana