Director Joel Coen has evidently succeeded beyond measure to bring Macbeth to the big screen in The Tragedy of Macbeth, with the adaptation currently sitting at 100% on Rotten Tomatoes. The first reviews have Coen’s approach to the iconic Shakespeare story, as well as the central performances from Oscar winners Denzel Washington and Frances McDormand.
“There’s real resonant power in all that sound and fury – a tragedy stripped back and reborn but the essential truth of it undiminished, half a millennium on,” says Leah Greenblatt of Entertainment Weekly, with Robert Daniels from The Playlist adding that, “Denzel and McDormand are fearless, and “The Tragedy of Macbeth” is an enthralling jolt of verse and just good old-fashioned dread.”
The Tragedy of Macbeth has been written and directed by Academy Award winner Joel Coen, who is flying solo without his brother and frequent collaborator Ethan. The Tragedy of Macbeth stars the Hollywood icon and Academy Award winner that is Denzel Washington as the titular Macbeth with fellow Academy Award winner and Nomadland star Frances McDormand as Lady Macbeth, and follows a Scottish Lord who sets out to become the King of Scotland after being convinced that it his destiny by three witches.
Giving the movie a perfect score of 5/5 Time Out’s Dave Calhoun says, “It’s stage-bound in all the right ways, reminiscent of a much earlier cinema, when filmmakers barely stepped outdoors and wielded magic with shadow and light on soundstages. It’s short, sharp and savage.”
David Rooney of Hollywood Reporter meanwhile calls The Tragedy of Macbeth a courageous take on the famous play saying, “Furious and fleet, emotional and elemental, Joel Coen’s stripped-down take on the Scottish play instantly secures its place among the most audacious modern screen adaptations of Shakespeare.”
Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian found The Tragedy of Macbeth to be a visceral cinematic experience saying, “This is a black-and-white world of violence and pain that scorches the retina”; while Owen Gleiberman from Variety found the movie to be a seductive watch that gets under the skin. “A “Macbeth” that is sure to seduce audiences – one that, for all its darkness of import, is light-spirited, fleet, and intoxicating,” Gleiberman said.
There were more 5/5 ratings courtesy of The Daily Telegraph’s Robbie Collin, who said that “It resonates with the ancient power of a ritual.” These sentiments were echoed by Robert Abele of TheWrap, who described The Tragedy of Macbeth as “A bracingly textured cinematic plunge into some classically dark waters.”
Alongside Denzel Washington and Frances McDormand in the leads, The Tragedy of Macbeth stars In Bruges‘ Brendan Gleeson as King Duncan, Straight Outta Compton star Corey Hawkins as Macduff, The Legend of Buster Scruggs alum Harry Melling as Malcolm, and The Queen’s Gambit star Moses Ingram as Lady Macduff. So, if the director and cast had not already persuaded you, The Tragedy of Macbeth sounds like it will be worth your time.
Following its world premiere at the 2021 New York Film Festival on September 24, 2021, The Tragedy of Macbeth is scheduled to be theatrically released by A24 on December 25 followed by a global launch on Apple TV+ on January 14, 2022.