Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.

Macbeth, 5.5

My fascination with Macbeth, and indeed with Shakespeare probably began in 9th grade when we were taught the above soliloquy as part of our curriculum. Further it was enhanced when I watched what I feel, even today, as the greatest adaptation of the play – Akira Kurasawa’s Throne of Blood.

A mind boggling rendition of the Bard’s classic, Throne of Blood was a film that left a huge mark on me. Indeed if I end up as a director one day, I’m sure that on my list of inspirations, Throne of Blood would occupy prime real estate. Needless to say, any and all adaptions of the play I tend to compare to this film. Justin Kurzel‘s version did not disappoint.

What strikes you first and foremost about Kurzel’s Macbeth is the breathtaking visuals. Cinematographer Adam Arkpaw (True Detective) is a real master of his craft. Capturing the essence of the play and Macbeth’s character itself, juxtaposing it with the darkness and ambiguity of the fog really plays on the audience’s mind. Remakes, I believe, should be judged on the basis of what they add to the story and mythology surrounding the original work. In this case I think it adds to the lore by giving us a backdrop to forever imagine Macbeth playing out in.

Performances have been stand out as well. Fassbended is once again seen in his comfort zone – brooding and deeply conflicted hero, one he is increasingly becoming the master of. The stand out, as always, was Marion Cotillard. I don’t have enough words in my vocabulary to praise Cotillard. She is an astounding actress capable of delivering serious depth in her performances, which she does brilliantly here as well.

All in all a film that is not perfect but a good enough rendition of Macbeth, not for those who don’t enjoy the beauty of classic literature, however.