201 of 212 people found the following review helpful
Best Macbeth You'll Ever See,
This review is from: Great Performances: Macbeth (DVD)
I just finished watching Rupert Goold's film of Macbeth, starring Patrick Stewart and Kate Fleetwood. As mentioned in the last post, I saw this production on Broadway and was eagerly awaiting the film version. Now I've seen a lot of great film Macbeths, including the Ian McKellen/Judi Dench version, the RSC film with Antony Sher, and Roman Polanski's. This film is the best Macbeth that you will ever see. In fact, scenes that I didn't find very effective on stage (Lady Macbeth's mad scene and and the long scene between Malcolm and Macduff) were very powerful in the movie. Patrick Stewart's performance is definitive. You can see every thought that passes through his mind. Kate Fleetwood's Lady Macbeth charted her fall into insanity with such clarity that when Macbeth is told that she has died, it's no surprise to him or the audience. You see that there was no other end to her story. The Weird Sisters, here played as Nurses who have gone over to the dark side, are truly frightening. There is no weak link in this cast, the directing is thrillingly original, and the production design is stunning. It easily could have been shown in movie theaters. This Macbeth is set during the Cold War of the 1950's, and doesn't shy away from the shocking violence of a dictatorship. Characters are brutally executed, and the murder of Lady Macduff and her children is greatly disturbing, even though you see almost nothing happen. And to top it all off, Rupert Goold has the film end with the camera panning from location to location throughout the castle (the dining room, the kitchen, the Weird Sisters' morgue) and then closes with a shot of Macbeth and his Lady in the elevator, hand in hand. So we end with the idea that Macbeth's castle isn't just drenched in blood. Now it's haunted.
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Showing 1-9 of 9 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Dec 12, 2010 5:18:04 PM PST
In reply to an earlier post on Jan 4, 2011 1:05:58 PM PST
J. C. Bloom says:
Actually, Mr Lantz, they are TRADITIONAL, and more true to the spirit of Shakespeare's originals. The original productions of the plays did not place the plays in their historical period; rather they were played as contemporary Elizabethan/ Jacobean pieces; in other words, in "modern times" to the audience. Macbeth would have been performed in the costumes and accents of early 17th century England, NOT those of Medieval Scotland. You are entitled to your opinion, but you would appear less ignorant and snobbish if you did not try to present such opinion as fact.
Posted on Jan 14, 2011 4:28:03 PM PST
Josh, How would you compare it to Kurosawas "Throne of Blood"? For my money ,the best film version. Too bad they didnt film Oliviers version...james
Posted on Jul 10, 2011 2:52:24 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 10, 2011 2:54:55 AM PDT
Amateur Stargazer says:
Although I prefer having Shakespeare's plays performed with actors dressed in the clothing of the period of the time in which the play takes place, it's more important to preserve the lines of the play itself. Updating the time setting doesn't really harm the plays too much as long as it's done in the spirit of the play itself. There was a good film production of "The Merchant of Venice" which was done with 1930's Cabaret era props and clothing but it preserved all of the lines of the play. If one wants to be a purist, one should do it with the preserving the text of the play and maintaining the strength of the acting, which are the most important parts of the performance.
In reply to an earlier post on Sep 27, 2011 9:11:18 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 27, 2011 9:12:35 AM PDT
Filippo Secondo (aka AB) says:
Hello, J. C. Bloom. I think that by 'updates...to modern times' Robert Lantz simply meant not Elizabethan/Jacobean (the original theatrical practice of the period, such as that followed in most productions at the New Globe), rather than not Medieval (the play's setting).
In reply to an earlier post on Jan 3, 2012 1:38:54 PM PST
Rev. Moonshine says:
Robert Lantz, many of Shakespeare's plays, as they were originally performed, were updates to previous plays, and there is evidence Shakespeare made changes to his own plays to keep them current. Many people think modern adoptions of Shakespeare's plays are exactly what Shakespeare had in mind.
In reply to an earlier post on Jan 14, 2012 3:10:25 AM PST
Wes J. Garber says:
Trite? Perhaps, when not done well. but certainly not as pretentious as this comment.
In reply to an earlier post on Feb 22, 2012 11:42:15 AM PST
Rev. Moonshine says:
Robert Lantz, I don't see how you could have seen this movie and think that it being a modern adaption makes it "trite." I found the acting performances alone made this the most inspiring performance of Macbeth I have ever seen. Unlike adaptions of Hamlet that take place in alternative time periods, the lines didn't seem out of time and place. This is a well-made movie from start to finish, not some gimmicky attempt to set Shakespeare in a modern period.
Many modern adaptions of Shakespeare are an attempt to fit a round peg into a square hole, but not this one. The period selected for this production fits the script, without forcing it.
In reply to an earlier post on Oct 3, 2014 12:11:16 AM PDT
I too love Kurosawa's Shakespeare adaptations and Throne of Blood is certainly one my favorite films of all times. The story easily lends itself to feudal Japan and the entire film was absolutely marvelous.
However this version trumps it for me.
I love the grand style and cinematography of Kurosawa's piece but this one just felt like it hit harder. Stewart and Fleetwood both create compelling and powerful characters and nearly every scene is filled with such atmosphere and character by all the actors that there is no such thing as a wasted moment in it. The witches in this one also were genuinely creepy whereas the Kurosawa one was only mildly so.
While Kurosawa's piece was broader in regards to sets and scenery I really felt that this version had more impact by keeping things simple. After all the story revolves around the people and sometimes things can get lost in large lavish scenery.
All together both are excellent pieces that are extremely well performed and filmed but for me the performance that Stewart gives has so much more impact and character.
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