Macbeth, the time-honoured favourite production, has been adapted once again but this time, in full Hollywood style. The movie immediately set the tone as the play would, mid-battle, with all of the grand scale that a scene like that would naturally entail in a film but would struggle to be realised within a typical theatre production.
That is the word that best describes this film: scale. The biggest problem with a stage production of Macbeth is that the large battle scenes that play out in your mind as you read the text are simply not feasible. And this is where the film triumphs. The battles look realistic, and the settings are suitably unnerving as Macbeth carries out steadily increasingly evil deeds. The first battle scene itself lets the viewer know that the standard has been set for future productions- the fog rolling over a filthy battlefield, warriors in conflict surrounding the frame with Macbeth in the middle and the prophecy which dooms him ringing in his ears and throughout the theatre.
The cast is, without question, superb. Michael Fassbender plays the titular role, whilst Marion Cotillard takes on the role of Lady Macbeth, Paddy Considine plays Banquo and Sean Harris is Macduff. Each and every person within this adaption is amazing- although of course the biggest praise undoubtedly goes to Fassbender and Cotillard as Macbeth and Lady Macbeth respectively. Fassbender is very believable as both the noble warrior and the king falling deeper into insanity as his mind fills, at the risk of sounding clichéd, with scorpions.
It stays very faithful to the source material, to the point at which I can already see this being played within future English classrooms. But why wait? My advice is go watch it while you can, whether you’re studying Shakespeare this year or not. It stands out from any other film adaptation of Shakespeare, and for good reason. It is very deserving of a five star rating.