- Director: Rupert Goold
- Based on Shakespeare’s Macbeth
- Cast: Patrick Stewart, Kate Fleetwood, Martin Turner, Scott Handy, Suzanne Burden, Christopher Patrick Nolan
- Personal “oh yeah him/her” reaction, i.e. have seen this actor/actress in:
- Patrick Stewart: Hamlet (BBC), Hamlet (Doran), Star Trek, X-Men
- Kate Fleetwood: Les Miserables, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1, Elizabeth the Golden Age
- Scott Handy: Hamlet (Brook), A Knight’s Tale
- Suzanne Burden: Troilus and Cressida
- Why? Shakespeare
- Seen: January 5, 2014
What in the world am I supposed to write about this one? My reactions are completely mixed. I’m impressed by the ambition of the director and by the acting of the cast, and left cold by the result.
The 12th century historical Macbeth is moved here to the 20th century in some kind of WWII/Russian Revolution setting. It could work but it doesn’t. The story and characterisation are confusing and the essential human tragedy of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth become a kind of murky parody of mid-20th century atrocities.
There are strong moments. At times the hospital setting, the industrial warehouse, the clanky lifts are visually effective. Macbeth making a sandwich and sharing it with the murderers as he gives them instructions to kill Banquo is kind of funny. The concept of the three witches as nurses is interesting. The “Out damned spot” and “Tomorrow” monologs are strongly done.
But somehow…somehow, this just doesn’t work like it should. It drags at times but is generally overwrought, overblown and pretentious. The porter is hammy and campy. Again, this could work but doesn’t. Lady Macbeth is – as usual I’m sorry to say – vampy. Fleetwood gives a great performance but this interpretation is just not right. Patrick Stewart has been hanging out too much with Ian McKellen, or at least has watched McKellen’s Macbeth too many times. Admittedly, it’s a Macbeth performance well worth emulating but I expect more of Patrick Stewart.
I’m unsettled by this film. Disturbed. Next time I see it I might think it’s a masterpiece. This time it’s a mixed bag that rates between 0 and 5 and lands somewhere around
2 ½ * of 5