The Tragedy of Macbeth (2021)
January 3, 2022 7:15 PM - Subscribe

Macbeth, the Thane of Glamis, receives a prophecy from a trio of witches that one day he will become King of Scotland. Consumed by ambition and spurred to action by his wife, Macbeth murders his king and takes the throne for himself. Directed by Joel Cohen, starring Denzel Washington in the title role and Frances McDormand as the Lady.
posted by chrchr (18 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Has this been released anywhere? This post might get lost if no one can watch the film yet....
posted by OHenryPacey at 8:11 AM on January 4, 2022

It's in theaters now, apparently — three showtimes near me, in fact. But I was waiting for the Apple TV debut, which isn't for another week or so.
posted by emelenjr at 10:14 AM on January 4, 2022 [1 favorite]

Apple TV on 1/14, according to Justwatch. Still stunned that anyone would go to a theater right now. But this is top of my streaming list, for sure, worth the $4.99 by itself for a month of Apple.
posted by mediareport at 2:31 PM on January 4, 2022 [2 favorites]

I saw this at a cinema in Australia on Dec 26th before our Omicron numbers went through the roof.

The design is the high point for me. And Washington's Macbeth is very strong. Frances McDormand can do no wrong but I don't think she quite nailed Lady M. A film with lots of interesting choices, but no massively compelling reason to see it. Probably good to see on TV because the sets feel like the were made for live TV in the 1950s - and that's not a knock on them at all.
posted by crossoverman at 5:28 PM on January 4, 2022

I saw it at a vast, mostly empty theatre that requires proof of vaccination. Yes, the sets are minimalist. The Macbeths seem to have a very stylish midcentury modern fireplace in their bedchamber. It’s fairly stagey. The style of it isn’t film noir or classic Hollywood, but rather it’s expressionism! And I think the look of it is interesting but what really makes it worth seeing are the performances. Denzel is even a little bit muted for Denzel but still compelling. Some of the supporting actors really stand out.
posted by chrchr at 9:19 PM on January 4, 2022 [1 favorite]

posted by chrchr at 11:19 PM on January 4, 2022

Why do they never do a star studded production of Coriolanus?
posted by sammyo at 3:39 AM on January 5, 2022

Or Timon of Athens?
posted by sammyo at 3:40 AM on January 5, 2022

Here's a Coriolanus for you, directed by and starring Ralph Fiennes, featuring Brian Cox and Gerard Butler.

In the earlier days of the pandemic the National Theatre streamed a recording of their 2014 production starring Tom Hiddleston. I don't know if that's available for free anywhere.
posted by under_petticoat_rule at 4:07 AM on January 5, 2022 [1 favorite]

Ralph Fiennes' Coriolanus is definitely worth checking out. Play On Podcasts just wrapped a high-quality audio adaptation of Coriolanus, too (and Macbeth earlier in 2021).
posted by chimpsonfilm at 10:02 AM on January 5, 2022

Having only seen the trailer, it looks to me like an intentional homage to the visual style of Orson Welles's Othello, but whereas that film was rough and patchwork and kinetic, this one—in typical Coen bros. fashion—is pristine and precise and airless.

Personally, I prefer the former style.
posted by Atom Eyes at 12:07 PM on January 5, 2022 [1 favorite]

In the earlier days of the pandemic the National Theatre streamed a recording of their 2014 production starring Tom Hiddleston. I don't know if that's available for free anywhere.

They've done a Timon of Athens too, with Simon Russell Beale in the title role. Full details of their National Theatre at Home repertoire (including subscription and rental prices) here.
posted by Paul Slade at 4:14 AM on January 6, 2022

I finally saw this. I liked it a lot, especially the little clever staging bits here and there (the three witches being one person, the cauldron being the floor of Macbeth's room). It was also much, much better than the Fassbender version.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 5:15 PM on January 14, 2022

Just watched it and damn, that was amazing. Every frame was such a visual feast and Denzel and MacDormand are just outstanding.
posted by octothorpe at 7:29 PM on January 15, 2022 [1 favorite]

Gorgeous cinematography, but a gray, dull story. Duncan looks like he'd abdicate if you said a harsh word, no need to kill him. This Macbeth's no warrior and his Lady none too ruthless. Nearly everyone seems to be sleepwalking in a fog.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 3:17 PM on January 16, 2022 [1 favorite]

If you really really love this play, and Klingons (and Bat'leths), you might enjoy M'aQ'betH a production by the Red Curtain Foundation for the Arts, a local troupe in Marysville Wa. I was lucky enough to see this live and it was a blast. Had no idea it had been recorded for posterity.
posted by OHenryPacey at 2:18 PM on January 19, 2022 [1 favorite]

This Macbeth's no warrior and his Lady none too ruthless.

This is why I loved it. First Mackers I've seen where, for a moment at least, I thought he might not do the deed.

The choice to emphasize Ross as conniving-Littlefinger-type is fun, but that final reveal -- that he hid Fleance -- is confusing to me. What's the motivation for Ross to stir up that particular pot?
posted by HeroZero at 7:54 PM on January 25, 2022

Visually, it's a treat, with what must be deliberate callbacks to German Expressionism and Chimes of Freedom. Denzel on cruise control is still engaging and conflicted and intense, although he certainly didn't steal the part from Ian McKellen, or anyone else for that matter.

The real problem is Frances McDormand (national treasure, etc.) who just has no madness. When Judi Dench invites the "spirits that tend on mortal thoughts" to "unsex" her and fill her full of "direst cruelty" (scene), she's doing something terrifying to herself and become transported with visceral madness. McDormand plays the same scene as if she's deciding to, say, uninvite a friend to a wedding as revenge.

The result is two people who plot and connive for somewhat understandable reasons, but seem to have always been a little nasty — instead of being blown open by the influence of the witches, as I think is more correct.

Great witch(es), though.
posted by argybarg at 1:25 PM on October 1

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