‘Macbeth’ ** Movie Review 110607

The Work = **
Somewhere, somehow, I think there could be a successful crossing of the film ‘Scarface’ and Shakespeare’s ‘Macbeth’. After all, the gangster’s rise and fall is not unlike Macbeth’s This Australian feature attempts to make such a combination. While the feature gets points for its look and style, something about it just doesn’t work. The combination doesn’t take and watching this movie it seemed like there were two separate features inter-cut together.

One feature is a present day telling of ‘Macbeth’. This ‘Macbeth’ (Sam Worthington) is mid-level gangster who deals in the drug trade and looks like a fashion model. He makes a move for power and before he knows it is battling madness and offing people left and right. The second feature is a dialogue free, music video, featuring shootouts and assassinations. The two don’t really connect and I just couldn’t get into this film despite really wanting to. (I have been interested in this film since seeing a trailer for it last year, I even posted about it in September.)

It is not that there couldn’t be a successful re-imagining of the play on film. One of my favorite movies is a fairly off the wall adaptation of Shakespeare’s ‘Titus’. That feature, of the same name, helmed by Julie Taymor manages to find a tone and style that works for the film adaptation. Possibly it is that Taymor finds a way to almost seamlessly blend the action and the dialogue.

‘Macbeth’, written by Victoria Hill and Geoffrey Wright, doesn’t incorporate the dialogue into the modern action, so much as it shows some action, then has some dialogue and never the ‘tween shall meet. Wright also directs the film and Hill co-stars as Lady Macbeth herself. Wright brings some life to an early action sequence and as I said earlier the style of the film is top-notch. Hill certainly gives the role her all and makes Lady Macbeth something of a coke whore.

The rest of the cast looks pretty and says the words with as much feeling as they can but somehow it just doesn’t work for me. I am not sure exactly why it doesn’t but ‘Macbeth’ feels disjointed and at times slow. When scenes grabbed me, I was sucked into the moment but then something would take me right back out again. A long shootout at the end of the movie is featured largely in slow motion and drags on and on. Only towards the end when the speed is brought back up does the action get exciting.

Despite looking forward to the film and liking the style of it, I simply cannot recommend ‘Macbeth’. Maybe it was that the words and the action don’t gel or maybe it simply needed to be a shorter film for this interpretation to work. Whatever the case, unless you know you are a fan of the film, I say give it a rental before you buy. Recommended rental first.


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