After a bloody battle, Lord Macbeth (Denzel Washington) encounters three witches who tell him that he will become the next King of Scotland. Joel Coen’s first film without his brother Ethan is a stark but gorgeous adaptation of the classic play that might remind some in the audience of Laurence Olivier’s brilliant cinematic take on ”Hamlet” in 1948; this one is also in black-and-white, emphasizing a theatrical look with sets in the style of German Expressionism. Fierce performances by the two leads and an utterly captivating, very physical one by Kathryn Hunter as the witches; her scenes are among the film’s most visually arresting.
2021-U.S. 105 min. B/W. Produced by Joel Coen, Robert Graf, Frances McDormand. Written and directed by Joel Coen. Play: William Shakespeare (”Macbeth”). Cinematography: Bruno Delbonnel. Music: Carter Burwell. Production Design: Stefan Dechant. Cast: Denzel Washington (Lord Macbeth), Frances McDormand (Lady Macbeth), Corey Hawkins (Macduff), Brendan Gleeson, Harry Melling, Bertie Carvel.
Last word: “At one time, Fran was not considered right for Shakespeare by the New York theatre community. That changed at a certain point. She asked me if I would direct ‘Macbeth’ on stage and I said I wouldn’t have the slightest idea what to do. So she went ahead and did it anyway. It was seven or eight years ago in San Francisco, playing Lady Macbeth with Conleth Hill, directed by Dan Sullivan, who is excellent. I told her it was something that I could get my head around as a movie.” (Coen, The Guardian)