Joel Coen’s The Tragedy of Macbeth can only be described as visually stunning, however, it doesn’t deliver much else either.
The Coen Brothers are a directing duo to always look out for. The directors behind Fargo, No Country for Old Men, and True Grit, are no stranger to awards and certainly can be viewed as some of the best filmmakers in the industry. Now half of this duo returns, as Joel Coen brings audiences his take on the famous Shakespeare story Macbeth, in A24’s and Apple TV+’s new drama The Tragedy of Macbeth.
The Tragedy of Macbeth Official Trailer
The Tragedy of Macbeth isn’t the first adaptation of the famous story, nor will it be the last. Its Coen’s take on the well-known story that involves Shakesperian dialogue, gorgeous black & white cinematography, and a stellar cast. However ultimately the film stands, or falls, on if you like Shakespeare’s stories or not.
Denzel Washington plays Macbeth in a staggering performance, that starts low, but gets to some serious highs over the course of the film. Lady Macbeth is played by Joel Coen’s wife and three-time Oscar Winner Frances McDormand and she is great too. In fact, the entire ensemble cast including Corey Hawkins, Herry Melling, Alex Hassell, Moses Ingram and Brendan Gleeson are very solid.
Another major highlight of The Tragedy of Macbeth is the spectacular black & white cinematography by Bruno Delbonnel, a frequent collaborator of the Coen Brothers (Inside Llewyn Davis, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs). He and Coen combined talents with clever uses of fog and larger than life sets. Not to mention a distinct aspect ratio, which combine to create images that stay with you long after the film’s credits.
The thing that largely holds The Tragedy of Macbeth down is the choice of Coen to adapt Shakespeare‘s dialogue very closely. This is also not the first adaptation of Macbeth to do that, as Shakespeare‘s dialogue is also very prominent in Justin Kurzel‘s underrated Macbeth, starring Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard. It was very hard to understand what everyone is saying (subtitles are recommended), which kept me away from being soaked in this grand story.
It also didn’t help that there were only a few parts that I found particularly interesting. Which isn’t the fault of the film, but rather of the story it adapted. It just never really connected with me. While The Tragedy of Macbeth never really clicked for me, I thoroughly enjoyed the entire cast and the gorgeous cinematography, set and sound design, still making it a film, I wouldn’t want to miss.
Denzel Washington and Frances McDormand star in Joel Coen’s bold and fierce adaptation; a tale of murder, madness, ambition and wrathful cunning. (Apple TV+)
The Tragedy of Macbeth is in theaters and on Apple TV+ on January 14, 2022. The film is written for the screen and directed by Joel Coen. It stars Denzel Washington, Frances McDormand, Corey Hawkins, Herry Melling, Alex Hassell, Moses Ingram and Brendan Gleeson. What do you all think? Which is your favorite Macbeth adaptation? Let’s discuss everything in the comments down below and on our social media.