MACBETH (2015)

"Somber Sullen Shakespeare Lacks Dramatic Power"

Quality:
Content: -2 Discretion advised for adults.
NoneLightModerateHeavy
Language
Violence
Sex
Nudity

What You Need To Know:

MACBETH is a movie version of Shakespeare’s tragedy, with Michael Fassbender playing the bloodthirsty Scottish general and Marion Cotillard playing his ambitious, troubled wife. This MACBETH opens with the death of Lady Macbeth’s and the general’s young son. Shortly, Macbeth is on the battlefield, where he gets the message from the three witches that he will soon be Thane of Cawdor and “King hereafter.” Meanwhile, his right-hand man and friend, Banquo, learns he will be the father of kings. Seeing the first part of the prophecy come true, Lady Macbeth urges her husband to murder King Duncan and blame it on Duncan’s guards. Once named King, Macbeth decides he must murder even more people to remain on the throne.

MACBETH seems to pay little attention to the dramatic structure of the play. Marion Cotillard gives a compelling performance as Lady Macbeth. However, this filmed version is so somber throughout, with such a terrible musical soundtrack and a dull performance by Fassbender, that it’s hard to get emotionally involved with the title’s character’s tragic journey. This dilutes the dramatic and moral force of this MACBETH.

Content:

(B, C, O, L, VVV, S, N, A, M) Light moral worldview, with some Christian references and prayers, in a dull movie version of a famous play that fails to capture the play’s dramatic structure and moral premise, with some occult content where witches give misleading prophecies, and man hallucinates that he sees the ghost of a man he had two henchmen murder; four “d” obscenities; strong and some very strong violence with some blood includes battle scenes, sleeping man is murdered by having his throat slit, woman and her children are burnt at the stake, people pierced by arrows, boy runs from assassins and survives, sword fighting, and man murders two guards to cover up another murder; a sex scene between married couple, mostly implied, plus one or two other scenes of husband and wife kissing; upper male nudity; brief alcohol use; no smoking or drugs; and, greed and ambition.

More Detail:

MACBETH is a new version of the tragedy by William Shakespeare, with Michael Fassbender playing the bloodthirsty Scottish general and Marion Cotillard playing his ambitious, troubled wife. Marion Cotillard gives a compelling performance as Lady Macbeth, but this filmed version is so somber, with such a terrible musical soundtrack and a dull performance by Fassbender, that it’s hard to get emotionally involved with the title’s character’s tragic journey. The movie made MOVIEGUIDE®’s reviewer want to get up on the screen at one point and show Fassbinder how the role should be played.

This MACBETH opens with the death of Lady Macbeth’s and the general’s young son. Shortly thereafter, Macbeth is on the battlefield, where he gets the message from the three witches that he will soon be Thane of Cawdor and “King hereafter.” Meanwhile, his right-hand man and friend, Banquo, learns he will be the father of kings.

When Lady Macbeth hears the prophecy, she convinces Macbeth to kill King Duncan, partly because Duncan and his son, Malcolm, may begin to see Macbeth as a threat. So, Macbeth murders Duncan while Duncan sleeps and frames Duncan’s two guards. The next morning, when Duncan’s murdered body is found, he kills the two guards in a fit of fake rage before they can defend themselves. Naturally, Malcolm, in fear of his life, flees to London.

Macbeth next turns his bloodthirsty attention to his friend, Banquo, now seeing Banquo and Banquo’s son as a rival to his rule. Macbeth also becomes suspicious of Macduff, who’s loyal to Malcolm. Macbeth’s bloodthirsty ambition drives him, and Lady Macbeth, into madness and, eventually, despair.

MACBETH seems to pay little attention to the dramatic structure of the original play. Marion Cotillard gives a compelling performance as Lady Macbeth. However, this filmed version is so somber throughout, with such a terrible musical soundtrack and a dull performance by Fassbender, that it’s hard to get emotionally involved with the title’s character’s tragic journey. This dilutes the dramatic and moral force of this MACBETH. Except in the mouth of Miss Cotillard, Shakesepare’s language seldom soars here. Thus, by the time the third act arrives, MOVIEGUIDE® was feeling relief that this particular movie version of Shakespeare would soon be over.

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