Friday, October 25, 2013



Macbeth opens with three witches vandalizing the various monuments and sepulchers in a cemetery.  The scene then flashes over to Macbeth, a member of an organized crime unit.  When a deal goes bad, a massive gunfight ensues and Macbeth emerges the victor.  Upon celebrating at the hangout/nightclub, Macbeth turns on the fog machine and is suddenly met by three private school girls who foretell that he will soon be the "King" of the organized crime family.  Macbeth and his wife soon decide to become pro-active in making this premonition come true.
In case you're wondering, yes, he does end up having an orgy with the witches.
This Australian film tried to do for Macbeth what Baz Luhrmann did for Romeo & Juliet.  It's a noble goal.  Romeo & Juliet was a success.  Ethan Hawke did a modern-day Hamlet that also turned out well.  I had thought for years that Macbeth could be great as a horror movie.  Witches, lots of murder, it'd be perfect.  This interpretation though, mixed up the formula in a couple ways.  First, genre - it really couldn't decide whether it wanted to be horror or drama.  There are some disturbing images with murders and witches, but then they tried to dramatize the gangsters in a Godfather type of vibe that didn't really jive with the rest of the film.

Second, while most modern day versions of Shakespeare can utilize the text in a contemporary setting, this film seemed afraid to do so.  So, what we end up with are exceedingly long stretches where there is zero dialogue, and the actors just pantomime (mostly through serious expressions), what is supposed to be going on.  

It's cool to see Sam Worthington in a pre-avatar/perseus/terminator role.  And, all the supporting actors are very capable, they just aren't given much of an opportunity to work with the dialogue.  


AC said...

sounds disappointing! guess you took this one for the team.

Catfreeek said...

Nice review I loved the line, "the actors just pantomime (mostly through serious expressions)". It gives me such a hilarious visual.

Landshark said...

I guess props for trying to do something new with the bard. But negative props for "pantomime" being the something new.

Octopunk said...

Agreed. "Let's take out the Shakespeare!" is a pretty gutless idea.

DCD said...

Bummer - although I do appreciate that last picture!