It is no debate that Justin Kurzel has crafted something wicked in his Macbeth: this is a savage Scotland where Shakespeare’s words flourish under a camera and cast that mingles cinema with sin. If you wish to know my thoughts on this Macbeth solely as a film, I suggest you read Jack Blackwell’s review as I share his opinion. My observation however, was that for a film so loyal to the setting of the Red King, Kurzel is not always faithful to the Bard himself, and is often open to remaking the plot altogether. This sparked a curiosity in me about this bizarre sub-genre that resides in film and has only continued to grow in popularity: The Shakespeare Adaptation.
There is very little in mainstream western literature with such a streak of nihilism as Macbeth. The lead character is an irredeemable monster, created by his overly ambitious schemer of a wife, and the legacy he leaves is of a barren, wasted Scotland. The kingship Malcolm (Jack Reynor), son of the murdered Duncan (David Thewlis), inherits is hardly desirable, and that is never felt more keenly than in the final act of this new adaptation. As Macbeth (Michael Fassbender) and Macduff (Sean Harris) fight to decide the future of their homeland, it becomes clear that whoever wins will govern not a nation, but an extension of Hell itself. (more…)