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The Tragedy of Macbeth

To preface this short summary, I have never seen any other version of this story, either play or screen; I recall having read it once in college, but alas, I have always struggled with the language of Shakespeare. So, I refreshed my memory of the story before watching the film. I loved it. I had a hard time with the language – I am glad I had subtitles to catch it all (part of it is just getting older and the mind is less efficient at keeping up with the abstract talking). A part of me wished it had been a bit more contemporary in that regard. But oh my, what a visual feast the film is. The film style reminded me of some of Ingmar Bergman’s great early films. The use of black and white and the lighting were stunning, but what really grabbed my attention was how the director managed to find a way to capture the best of both worlds. In some scenes, they were shot in such a way that it felt intimate, as though you were in a play with a limited stage; in others, the director uses the benefits of the screen through fade-ins and outs and other techniques that can’t be captured in the stage. This is probably one of the things I will remember for a long time. The acting all around is tremendous, especially Denzel Washington who manages to get lost in the character of Macbeth who is power-hungry yet consumed by the terror of what is happening to him and around him. The film is beautiful and haunting. Big thumbs up from me. (2021; 4.5 Stars)

About Gary Burkholder

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