20 January 2014

Macbeth Retold

Macbeth Retold 2005
  • Director: Mark Brozel
  • Based on Shakespeare’s Macbeth
  • Cast: James McAvoy, Keeley Hawes, Joseph Millson, Ralph Ineson, Richard Ridings, Charles Abomeli
  • Personal “oh yeah him/her” reaction, i.e. have seen this actor/actress in:
    • James McAvoy: Wanted, Atonement, Becoming Jane Austen, Inside I’m Dancing
    • Keeley Hawes: Upstairs Downstairs, Mutual Friends, Under the Greenwood Tree, Tristram Shandy, Our Mutual Friend, Cold Lazarus, Karaoke
    • Joseph Millson: Enid
    • Ralph Ineson: Merlin, Harry Potter (several of them), Another Year, From Hell, Shooting Fish
    • Richard Ridings: Merlin (bounty hunter), The Pianist, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Clockwise
    • Charles Abomeli: only this
  • Why? Shakespeare
  • Seen: Twice. Now: January 18, 2014 
       In some ways this is an ingenious adaption.  The first scene, for example, with the three debris collectors in the vast waste land of rotting rubbish, mumbling about their lunches and “when the hurly burley’s done”, is incomprehensible but funny and a bit scary.  So it is each time the trio (the weird sisters, you see) show up in the alley behind the diner.
       Eleventh century Macbeth is transformed into a twenty-first century Joe Macbeth, “kitchen warrior”, and chef over the “cooking bravehearts” in an exclusive restaurant.
       It doesn’t really work and for the first half of the film I don’t quite know what’s going on. But that doesn’t matter.  Things become clear and Shakespeare’s story emerges.  Prophecies are spoken, murders are committed, and the two ambitious but basically decent people descend into the hell of remorseful madness.
       Only a few of the original lines are included. Maybe it was wise to omit the “out damned spot” and “tomorrow” monologs.  Maybe not.  I miss them.
       But the cast is superlative. Keeley Hawes is Lady Macbeth in modern efficient business woman-hiding-a-sadness mode.  And James McAvoy is, as always, just so incredibly good.  He can make even a flawed concept like this one a real tour de force.

4 * of 5  

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