Macbeth is a 2015 British drama film directed by Justin Kurzel and starring Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard. It is a solid, albeit problematic movie.
Being the adaptation of a famous Shakespeare tragedy, the movie follows it closely and is littered with appropriately old-fashioned and poetic dialogue. I liked that about it as most of the time it wasn’t that difficult to understand and the attention to detail is evident from the accents to the archaic words spoken to the poetic quality to it. What I did not like, however, are the actors’ pronunciations of those sentences and most importantly their whispering. All of them whisper throughout the whole running time which is super annoying and unrealistic as nobody speaks like that.
The character development is also troublesome. Most of the supporting characters are way too forgettable and it only becomes the show between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. Although those two are well fleshed out, they are still lacking having in mind the source material and they should have been much better developed and much more complex. The whole film should have been more sophisticated.
The acting is excellent with Marion Cotillard giving a very good performance. And Michael Fassbender is superb as well, but I still found this to be one of his weaker roles which doesn’t mean that it’s bad because he always delivers, but he’s just not as good as in some of his other roles.
The film is poorly paced and is admittedly dull to watch. They should have made this material more accessible to the modern audience. The filmmakers didn’t quite present those most dramatic scenes particularly well and the war elements are also lacking. Macbeth is best when quiet and during the speeches, but the action is not that good unfortunately and those fights are clearly lacking the majesty they deserve. The cinematography is also done for better and for worse. It is such a love/hate approach as the colors are all over the place, but to me it isn’t as artistic as it clearly aspires to be. Some scenes are interesting with the ending being visually intriguing and some scenes in the middle are also well shot, but the first act is way too dark with uninspired scenery. The tone is also problematic as not that much emotion is present, despite in a couple of occasions. The more emotional approach would have made it much better. The score is also solid and the film is overall very well made. But it is well adapted and well directed by Justin Kurzel and as these Shakespeare adaptations go, Macbeth is an admirable film that is quite solid in the end and has its many strengths. But I just wish that it was better handled as it could have been great.