A stylish, theatrical version of classic Shakespeare might be marred a little by its sound design. But The Tragedy of Macbeth is often a visually, expressionistic marvel with noteworthy leads portrayed by Oscar-winning actors Denzel Washington and Frances McDormand.
An efficiently venal way through humanity exudes noir in Joel Coen’s The Tragedy of Macbeth. With its share of horror elements there’s a certain minimalist crime thriller unfolding in front of our eyes. Especially in the strike elegance brought on by lensing of Bruno Delbonnel using sound stages with misty swirls.
At first shivers might be felt when characters reveal who they’re not with the lambic pentameter verse fully intact. Afterwards, the dress and stain, as well as self-doubt and pulse are there to behold. As delineated by a childless married couple, Washington’s rationally maligned, later madly, executing eponymous Lord for the Scottish crown and the arguably more desirous, fiery Lady Macbeth (McDormand, of her win for Nomadland in an unladylike sapient, paranoia state).
Though not from the royal blood line the recently victorious high-ranking Thane soldier is on a mission after a prognostication from three identical witches (a striking, contouring Kathryn Hunter, also in another unexpected turn). An inflamed aspiration fills a disconsolate drama with sound and fury, not to mention regicide.
This forcefully rendered, if not always relevant adaptation gravitates off a heedlessness. As the coup includes King Duncan (almost a cameo for Brendan Gleeson), and his two adult sons, Malcolm (Harry Melling) and younger Donalbain (Matt Helm). In a quest the consistently grips like the need for dominion Gen. Banquo (Bertie Carvel) serves as a partner while Corey Hawkins’ Macduff sheds his familial side to the dismay of his better half, Lady Macduff (an affecting Moses Ingram).
In stopping away from fraternal collaborator Ethan (Fargo), Coen’s revival still resonates in strokes of bold ferocity. A lushly rendered nightmare penetrates from repulsion and derangement in disarming ways. A new slant into the traditional can have an instant of levity as Stephen Root’s porter indicates while The Tragedy keeps its Machiavellian spirit alive and kicking.