When movie adaptations are made of Shakespeare’s plays in their original language, they can be tough for modern audiences to take. It’s understandable, because in a way it can be like watching a foreign language film, without the help of subtitles. Luckily, Macbeth is a story most people know so well that you shouldn’t have to be able to understand what’s being said to know what’s going on, therefore all this film needed to do was present this story in a dramatic, and hopefully unique way. Wow did it fail.
Macbeth is the story of… Do I really need to discuss the plot of one of the most famous stories ever written? Hero, witches, prophesy, murder, angry wife, Scotland. That should be enough, and don’t you dare complain about spoilers.
Firstly, this film took out two of the most famous scenes from the play. The film was far too long and very dull, but to not include two iconic moments was a questionable choice to say the least. Also, there are quite famously three witches in the play, but in this film there are five, although sometimes its four, and sometimes its six. I’m getting this out-of-the-way now because yes, I thought it was remarkable that these choices were made, and it definitely tainted the film for me, but adaptations don’t need to be exactly the same as the source material they’ve come from. Unfortunately there’s a lot more wrong with this film.
As I’ve already mentioned, boredom sets in very early, for me it was near the end of the opening scene. This feeling grew and grew until the final scene, which at first I thought I was enjoying, but the longer it went on the more I realised it was just that something was finally happening. The climax of the film was the best part, mostly because it had a good look, which again is something I thought Macbeth was doing well, until it clicked in my mind. The scenery in this film was very beautiful, and all this film was doing was shooting it. That’s not good direction or cinematography, it’s just good location scouting. Excluding a few moments, the scenery was what made this film good to look at, not the way it was being shot.
Something else that I was having trouble with was the acting in this film. I find it difficult to judge performances when Shakespeare is performed in its original dialect, but there were a few moments that felt very unnatural. Some of the actors had a look that didn’t fit into the setting, and some lines had strange delivery, as if the people saying them didn’t really understand what the words meant.
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