Keswick Film Club - The Tragedy Of Macbeth

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Sunday 27th February 4:45 PM

The Tragedy Of Macbeth 

Director: Joel Coen Country: USA
Cert: 15 Year: 2021 Length: 105 mins
The Tragedy Of Macbeth

Programme Notes

Cinema Handout (PDF 72KB)

Audience Reaction

Score: 79.17% Attendance: 78



  • More details on this film at the Internet Movie Database


Joel Coen's first film on his own without his brother is a bold one; stripping away all the Coen Brothers normal detail – even shooting in black and white – he is "zeroing in on the essential details of Shakespeare's tale of how a hunger for power can curdle into madness and death... his adaptation cuts the play down to a lean 105 minutes of Macbeth plotting, killing, and unravelling as he faces his ultimate downfall, trying to cling to the prophecies that propelled him to power. The sparseness of the script matches the modesty of the staging. Because the film lacks lush period detail, or really any specific background visuals at all, the audience's attention is thrown onto the performances, and the cast rises to the occasion magnificently." – David Sims, The Atlantic. He has even stripped away 2 of the witches leaving Kathryn Hunter to play them alone (maybe inspired by himself playing alone without Ethan?).

In another unusual move, the Macbeths are played (magnificently) by aging actors Denzil Washington and (of course!) Frances McDormand, playing their lust for the throne more from a desire to be relevant than from passionate rage.

The end result is a distinctly different and memorable version of Macbeth, very different from the Coens' previous films. It will be fascinating to see where he goes from here.


open_quote Stark but utterly compelling, this chilling take on Macbeth is a visually stunning tour de force. It's as good as you'd expect from this cast and crew close_quote Helen O'hara, Empire Magazine

open_quote Combines the sparseness of a late career work with the back-to-basics energy of a veteran filmmaker starting a new chapter of their career, and returning to the primordial ooze that inspired it in the first place. close_quote David Ehrlich, Indiewire



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