Australasian Cinema > films >


Macbeth (Justin Kurzel, 2015) prod. Iain Canning, Emile Sherman, See-Saw Films, wr. Todd Luiso, Jacob Koskoff from William Shakespeare's play, dp Adam Arkapaw; Michael Fassbender, Marion Cotillard

Don Groves:
Marion Cotillard will play the scheming Lady Macbeth in Justin Kurzel’s film adapted from the Shakespeare play.
Filming of Macbeth is scheduled to start in the UK in January [2014], produced by See-Saw Films’ Iain Canning and Emile Sherman, who collaborated with Fassbender in Steve McQueen’s Shame. The script is by Todd Luiso and Jacob Koskoff.
Transmission will release the film in Australia. StudioCanal is co-financing with England’s Film 4 and handling international sales. Don Groves, IF.

This is very impressive, but one-dimensional. It's a depiction of gloomy medieval world in which there is nothing much going on but the bloody defence of territory. Kurzel's writers use very little of the play. Too many of the images are of blood being let.
Fassbender speaks the lines with understanding. Cotillard is lightweight - poor casting.


Leslie Felperin:
Although tradition is upheld with a Dark Ages-Early Christian period setting, actually shot in Scotland for once, in most other respects Australian director Justin Kurzel filters Shakespeare's tragic story of murderous ambition through a resolutely modern sensibility.
Comparisons with Game of Thrones will be inevitable, and not always flatteringly intended, but they won't be wide of the mark.
With its foregrounded class conflict, horror-movie spookiness and, most importantly, use of brutal violence, it's an adaptation that has a much better chance than most Bard-based works of crossing-over to audiences beyond the art houses. The play's evergreen popularity in high-school syllabuses should help that along, as will the growing box-office draw of Michael Fassbender, sexy, charismatic and later poignant when his reason is unseated in the title role, opposite a surprisingly cast but completely persuasive Marion Cotillard as his manipulative wife.
... The one constituency that probably won't look especially kindly on this will be stringent Shakespeare purists, who might start with scoffing at why three people (Todd Louiso, Jacob Koskoff and Michael Lesslie) are credited for the screenplay before Shakespeare's name even gets a mention. Leslie Felperin, The Hollywood Reporter.

Guy Lodge:
Fearsomely visceral and impeccably performed, it’s a brisk, bracing update, even as it remains exquisitely in period. Though the Bard’s words are handled with care by an ideal ensemble, fronted by Michael Fassbender and a boldly cast Marion Cotillard, it’s the Australian helmer’s fervid sensory storytelling that makes this a Shakespeare pic for the ages — albeit one surely too savage for the classroom. Guy Lodge, Variety.

Robbie Collin:
The tragedy of Macbeth feels as vital and visceral here as it did in the hands of Roman Polanski and Akira Kurosawa, whose previous retellings are as good as Shakespeare on film gets. Kurzel’s version stands respectably beside them, and there can be few higher compliments than that. Robbie Collin, The Daily Telegraph.

All crits thanks to Don Groves, IF.

Garry Gillard | New: 24 August, 2013 | Now: 26 July, 2021