Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard are absolutely riveting as Shakespeare’s power-hungry couple in a screen adaptation of Macbeth that is bold, insightful and bracingly cinematic. Daringly for a Shakespeare film, the words take second place, Australian director Justin Kurzel content at key moments to let his striking visuals do the talking.
From the very first frame, he brings Medieval Scotland to life with brutal authenticity. Yet he is confident enough to drop in startling details, such as Lady Macbeth’s swipe of blue eye shadow, that are both persuasively credible and thrillingly strange. The battle scenes, full of mud and blood, are merciless, while the bleakly beautiful Highland landscapes are almost as unforgiving.
Fassbender and Cotillard can’t match some of their illustrious predecessors when it comes to delivering Shakespeare’s language but they convey their characters’ tormented inner lives with soul-scouring intensity.
Certificate 15. Runtime 108 mins. Director Justin Kurzel
Macbeth is available on Blu-ray, DVD & Blu-ray Steelbook from StudioCanal