The Tragedy of Macbeth

BBFC RatingThe Tragedy of Macbeth

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Certificate15
Year2021
GenreDrama
DirectorJoel Coen
WritersJoel Coen
LanguageEnglish
CountryUSA
Running Time1HR 45MINS
SeasonMain Programme

Joel Coen dazzlingly adapts the Scottish play for the screen with Frances McDormand and Denzel Washington mesmeric as the couple whose political ambitions proved their fatal downfall. 

Shakespeare’s iconic and much adapted text, written over 400 years ago, gets a wonderfully fresh and singular reworking in Joel Coen’s first solo outing as a director. Conjuring a beguiling nether-world between theatre and cinema, this is a stunning production.

Cinematographer Bruno Delbonnel’s silvery monochrome images, captured in 4:3, are embellished by the moody, near-expressionistic sets by designer Stefan Dechant. Long-term Coens collaborator Carter Burwell surpasses his usual heady brilliance with a score that balances dramatic heft with pure emotion and builds to a spellcasting crescendo. And driving the action is an extraordinary cast featuring some of the most breathtaking performances of the year, from Corey Hawkins as Macduff and Alex Hassell as Ross to Harry Melling, Brendan Gleeson... an embarrassment of riches that’s capped by British theatre legend Kathryn Hunter’s contortionist take on the Witches. And leading them all are Washington’s haunted Macbeth and McDormand’s scheming Lady Macbeth – ‘that I may pour my spirits in thine ear and chastise with the valour of my tongue’. Electrifying!

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