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Macbeth review: an Oscar-worthy Denzel Washington!

Here’s our review of Macbeth, Joel Coen’s first film without his brother Ethan, nominated for 3 Academy Awards

ORIGINAL TITLE: The Tragedy of Macbeth. GENUS: dramatic, historical. COUNTRY: USA. DIRECTOR:Joel Coen. CAST: Denzel Washington, Frances McDormand, Corey Hawkins, Brendan Gleeson, Harry Melling, Brian Thompson, Ralph Ineson, Kathryn Hunter, Bertie Carvel. time: 105 minutes. PRODUCTION: A24, IAC Films. ITALIAN DISTRIBUTION: Apple TV+. EXIT: January 14, 2022.

We have seen several films about Macbeth over time, even in recent years. From the adaptation of Orson Welles in 1948 to the one starring Michael Fassbender in 2015, the Shakespearean tragedy has been reinterpreted in all its guises. The film of Joel Coenwith protagonists Denzel Washington e Frances McDormand, pays homage to the original work with its language and style, which is firmly theatrical, standing out among the most recent adaptations. Let’s go into Macbeth’s review now, starting with trailer film officer.

The plot | Macbeth Review

Joel Coen’s film takes up the plot of the tragedy originale. Macbeth (Denzel Washington) e Banquo (Bertie Carvel), after leading King Duncan’s army (Brendan Gleeson) to victory over the treacherous lord of Cawdor, are approached by three witches on the battlefield. Witches (Katrhyn Hunter) announce that Macbeth will be promoted from lord of Glamis to Cawdor; they proclaim that he will later be king before claiming that Banquo will be the father of a lineage of kings. Later, King Duncan orders Ross’s lord to execute Cawdor and reinvest the title on Macbeth.

Lights and shadows | Macbeth Review

Joel Coen’s Macbeth catches the eye right from the start for two reasons: it’s in black and white and it is in 4:3. Black and white, which is increasingly common in today’s auteur cinema, is fundamental in this film. Macbeth is the adaptation of Shakespeare’s tragedy of the same name and decides to be as faithful as possible to its division into scenes and acts. Each time one scene ends, it moves on to the next with a tinge of this ubiquitous black or white. The director lets this simple effect be the curtain of the present day, interrupting our vision for a moment and transporting us within a few seconds to the next scenography. To help this, the film was shot entirely in studios. This choice is also justified by the desire of the crew and the director to set the story as much as possible in the minds of the protagonists, rather than in real places. These sets were already black and white, so that even during filming it was clear to everyone, how the film would turn out. From this point of view, Macbeth was a success: photography and scenography are nominated for the Oscars (find all nominations here).

The protagonists | Macbeth Review

So why shoot the film in 4: 3? As the director of photography reports Bruno Delbonnel in the backstage of the film, this format emphasizes the power of the foreground and when you have two actors like Denzel Washington and Frances McDormand at your disposal, their presence does the rest. This is exactly what happens. The two protagonists, flanked by a very capable cast, give us a gift memorable interpretations. The combination of actors, direction, photography and scenography is incredible: everything seems to work in function of the others. Behind the scenes of the film shines through the great communication between all departments, from the director to special effects and so on, with the sole purpose of creating a unique work in today’s panorama. However, none of this would have been possible without the great performances of its protagonists. Shakespeare’s verses are recited to the perfectionshowing us the madness that pervades the two main actors throughout the film.

Macbeth review: an Oscar-worthy Denzel Washington!


Macbeth is one of the best films of recent times and undoubtedly among the best in the reduced Apple TV + catalog. Joel Coen’s adaptation work is winninggiving us, thanks to the communication with his team, a film of very high technical quality. Delbonnel’s photography is onlyalso thanks to the work done on setson costumes and on special effects, which were much more decisive than one might think at first glance. Finally, a cast headed by the illustrious Washington and McDormand, it gives us a great demonstration of how theater is still, today, a great source of inspiration and reflection. While waiting for the night of the Oscars, don’t miss this masterpiece signed Joel Coen.

What do you think of our review of Macbeth? Have you seen the movie? Let us know in the comments!

Points in favor

  • Photography and scenography
  • The performance of Washington and McDormand

Points against

  • The language could be difficult

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