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The Tragedy of Macbeth, written and directed by acclaimed filmmaker Joel Coen, and from Apple Original Films and A24.
Joel Coen dazzlingly adapts this 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 on these shores 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! Joel Coen’s The Tragedy of Macbeth is the perfect celebration of an art form that is built on ancient traditions of storytelling and performance but also possesses such magical powers to capture the intimate alongside awe-inspiring scale and spectacle.
Critics are saying...
★★★★★ Evening Standard | ★★★★★ Daily Telegraph | ★★★★ Room With A View
★★★★★ "Stark but utterly compelling, this chilling take on Macbeth is a visually stunning tour de force. It’s as good as you’d expect from this cast and crew, which is saying something." - Empire
★★★★★ "It's stage-bound in all the right ways, reminiscent of a much earlier cinema, when filmmakers barely stepped outdoors and wielded magic with shadow and light on soundstages. It's short, sharp and savage." Time Out
★★★★ "Coen's compositions echo F.W. Murnau, Carl Dreyer, and other Expressionists, matching the artifice of the stage with cinema at its most beautifully artificial." Den of Geek
"Joel Coen's triumphant film of Shakespeare's tragedy astounds on every level, with Denzel Washington and Frances McDormand, two acting titans, playing an aging couple taking their last shot at murderous ambition. You can't take your eyes off them." ABC News
"Denzel Washington, Frances McDormand and a solo Joel Coen turn Shakespeare's bloody classic into a ravishingly beautiful game of throne." The Film Verdicts.
"By keeping the essential components of Shakespeare's play and abstracting everything else, Joel Coen has not only honoured one of the greatest pieces of literature of all time but has created a wicked reimagining that casts a powerful spell." Film Inquiry
"Furious and fleet, emotional and elemental, Joel Coen's stripped-down take on the Scottish play instantly secures its place among the most audacious modern screen adaptations of Shakespeare." The Hollywood Reporter
"There's real resonant power in all that sound and fury - a tragedy stripped back and reborn but the essential truth of it undiminished, half a millennium on." Entertainment Weekly
"A "Macbeth" that is sure to seduce audiences - one that, for all its darkness of import, is light-spirited, fleet, and intoxicating.' Variety
"Denzel and McDormand are fearless, and "The Tragedy of Macbeth" is an enthralling jolt of verse and just good old-fashioned dread." The Playlist