The Tragedy of Macbeth

The Tragedy of Macbeth

I want to first notice the difference between brotherly duos: the Farrellys split so Peter can direct a ham like Green Book and win an Oscar; Joel Coen leaves Ethan to make Macbeth and waits for the caw of the critics while the majority of the country enjoys the new Spider-Man. Maybe The Tragedy of Macbeth will snag an Oscar, but this ain’t no Green Book, and I mean that as a compliment to Peter Farrelly. Coen is overly devoted to the words of Macbeth, missing the forest of feeling for the trees as literal sentences. In doing his best to be both cinematic and theatrical, Coen slapped together a snoozer that doesn’t really embrace what theater sounds or feels like. Coen’s interpretation is anything but entertaining. Outside of a few striking decisions, like how he handles the three witches and some other choice moments, the black and white is oppressive and stodgy, the CGI as gaudy as 300, and the cramped setting, well, too cramped. Coen backed himself into a corner, trying like hell to construct something that shows he has depth while overlooking that depth isn’t a concept, it is a revelation. He looks out of his depth as a result. Washington and McDormand ping pong from boring to silly, reading their lines plainly and then trying, in the most dramatic moments, to snap into action with no coherent direction. I’m no expert on Shakespeare, let alone how filming it should be done, but this is clearly a total misfire from someone who is otherwise one of the most confident filmmakers alive.

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