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The Tragedy of Macbeth (2021) Review

Denzel Washington and Frances McDormand in The Tragedy of Macbeth

The story of Macbeth is something most of us are intrinsically aware of without realizing. You don’t even have to read the play, see it on stage or skim through the cliff notes while trying to crank out a not-so-obviously plagiarized essay that will leave your English professor rolling their eyes.

Macbeth has been adapted to death since it first premiered in 1606. Most of us are aware of a couple of adaptations at least. People familiar with the premise can pick out the influences it had on mainstream films and television series. Safe to say, the story needs no introduction.

So why now a new one?

Lack of originality? Or something else?

The Joel Coen-directed Macbeth does not seem to break new ground. Even if you are unaware of the actual contents of the stage play, you can tell that the Shakespearean dialogue is lifted straight from the book. It might seem like the laziest and the easiest way to lift a classic. But it isn’t. You aren’t giving this movie enough credit.

A seasoned veteran of noir and tragedy, Joel Coen makes some obvious choices and some innovative ones to adapt The Scottish Play in a revered manner. You get a black and white, boxed-in aspect ratio that suits the obviously sound-staged production. The canvas may be limiting but the attention to detail is not. The monochrome setting might restrict the scope of cinematography but it simultaneously opens up avenues to delight the visual senses in a manner words cannot describe justly. And don’t be put off by the Shakespearean tongue. The seasoned cast will ensure that you have no problems following the plot.

In fact, you’ll be surprised at the immersion

Your enjoyment of The Tragedy of Macbeth will entirely depend on how you choose to consume it. Do you have the discipline to stay in one spot for the entire duration, no matter how much your eyes glaze from the information overload? Well done, this 105 minute Macbeth adaption is an experience you won’t forget in a hurry.


Rating: 4 out of 5.

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