A24 | Release Date: December 25, 2021
7.1
USER SCORE
Generally favorable reviews based on 109 Ratings
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80
Mixed:
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10
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5
TVJerryJan 7, 2022
Director Joel Coen has created his first film without his brother and he called upon his wife Frances McDormand to star along Denzel Washington. Coen shot the film in black and white in an almost square ratio, harkening back to classicDirector Joel Coen has created his first film without his brother and he called upon his wife Frances McDormand to star along Denzel Washington. Coen shot the film in black and white in an almost square ratio, harkening back to classic versions of Shakespeare films. Instead of broad theatrics, this version goes for a more naturalistic delivery, while still allowing for Coen’s vision. This includes grand stylized sets framed with dramatic lighting, rich costumes and flights of symbolic fancy with the witches. Washington and McDormand play it low-key, forsaking much of the histrionic style often associated with The Bard. Even so, the consistently underplayed delivery and slow, static tone make this a beautiful, but often tiresome production focused more on style than performance. To Coen’s credit, he did manage to trim the script down to 1:45. For a recent version that took matters in a totally different and fascinating direction, check out Justin Kurzel’s Macbeth Expand
2 of 3 users found this helpful21
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6
everettJan 9, 2022
Filming a play isn't easy. Filming a Shakespearean play is even harder. On that score, it succeeds better than most, moving quickly and stylizing the set in a way that lends a certain artistic integrity.

Yet the pace and the style are the
Filming a play isn't easy. Filming a Shakespearean play is even harder. On that score, it succeeds better than most, moving quickly and stylizing the set in a way that lends a certain artistic integrity.

Yet the pace and the style are the very characteristics that constrain it. It feels hurried, pared down (it was), as if savoring the richness of the original would be asking too much of a contemporary audience. Ditto the style, which brought more attention to itself and less to the substance of the tale — and the characters. It became tiresome, like watching someone show off.

Across the board, the acting was excellent, of course most significantly so by Washington and McDormand. Yet they seemed constrained. I wonder if direction was to blame for my biggest letdown in the film: Macbeth's very famous "Out Out"speech near the end. I was astonished that, despite the fact that Macbeth delivers it immediately after finding out the most tragic news, he hurries through it with very little inflection in lines that beg lingering, and varying expression on profound as well as personal levels.

If Mr. Washington delivered it so perfunctorily because he was told to, then what a waste. I would love to see what he would've done with it on his own.
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3 of 5 users found this helpful32
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6
benjanzenFeb 28, 2022
The Tragedy of Macbeth is an absolutely beautiful looking film, filled with many shots that left me stunned. The minimalistic production design along with the black and white pallet serve this story very well, creating a new perspective forThe Tragedy of Macbeth is an absolutely beautiful looking film, filled with many shots that left me stunned. The minimalistic production design along with the black and white pallet serve this story very well, creating a new perspective for this classic tale. While I can appreciate everything here from a filmmaking perspective, I just can't ever fully get into Shakespeare and find it hard to connect with the story. Expand
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6
lsapFeb 4, 2022
The Tragedy of Macbeth is a Shakespearean play reimagined. Shot in a silvery black and white image with a simplistic set which pulls us into the action as if we were seeing it on stage. The film's staging allows the audience to focus solelyThe Tragedy of Macbeth is a Shakespearean play reimagined. Shot in a silvery black and white image with a simplistic set which pulls us into the action as if we were seeing it on stage. The film's staging allows the audience to focus solely on the script, with simplistic background imagery that doesn’t allow for any distractions. The opening scene with the birds, which then reappears later in the film during the banquet scene, was beautiful; they give the audience an eerie feeling that leads to us meeting one of the witches. She appears, and she gives off an otherworldliness to her appearance and her voice as if she came from a dark place Macbeth should fear. The use of the water to show the appearance of the other two witches was a fantastic addition to the film. On top of the black and white aspect, it portrayed the witches as daunting figures that you shouldn’t trust. Kathryn Hunter, who performed the witch, was a standout actress for me and one of the better choices in actors. The director's choice of actors was hit and miss for me. Denzel Washington was an outstanding actor and portrayed his lines beautifully. Age-wise, he is a miss. Deciding to have an old Macbeth doesn’t seem logical to me. In the play, he was a young thane of Glamis, but he wouldn’t have that same ambition and drive as such an older man. With that, I also don’t feel that Frances McDormand was the best Lady Macbeth they could’ve chosen. I don't think she's terrible in this film, but she never quite grasped the full weight of Lady Macbeth. With her being my favorite character from the play, it was disappointing because I know that they could’ve shown the true Lady Macbeth with her strong, ruthless, and ambitious attitude. Even more so than Macbeth, I'd argue that Lady Macbeth's struggle is even more significant than any character. While also trying to maintain a womanly figure for Macbeth, her desire for power is an exciting concept that was completely missing from this adaptation. Overall, If I were to grade this film from an A+ to an F, I would give it a B-. The film's visual simplicity was impeccable with the black and white imagery, which sets the eerie tone for the rest of the movie. The visuals were probably the most impressive thing about the film. The choice of actors and the delivery of their lines was disappointing and didn’t do Shakespeare justice. Expand
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6
rdzwirnFeb 4, 2022
The Tragedies of Macbeth

A new adaption of Macbeth is going to have incredibly high expectations, especially one with Joel Coen as director and award-winning actors. Coen created an eerie new world of Macbeth through making a complete black
The Tragedies of Macbeth

A new adaption of Macbeth is going to have incredibly high expectations, especially one with Joel Coen as director and award-winning actors. Coen created an eerie new world of Macbeth through making a complete black and white film. Color in a film is helpful to differentiate between different characters, emotions and overall scenery. It can also highlight symbolism. I understand the idea of using black and white to further symbolize differences between light and darkness, but it made the film more confusing. Due to the lack of color in this film, I often felt overwhelmed and confused about what was happening, despite having read the play. This artistic choice makes me think that this film would be difficult for a newcomer to Macbeth to enjoy and understand fully. I think many people would be turned away from watching this film if they did not have prior experience with Macbeth. Does Coen not want future generations to experience the story of Macbeth? If I had not read the play recently, the language would be even more difficult to understand on screen. The actors tended to perform their lines with a very monotone delivery which made the language even more difficult to understand (I’m looking at you, Denzel Washington!) However, some performances stood out- particularly Kathryn Hunter as the witch. She contorts herself in one scene and becomes extremely creepy in another. I think her performance was the best in the film, even compared to Denzel Washington and Frances McDormand. Overall, I give this film a C due to the confusing artistic choices that made watching it difficult and unenjoyable.
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5
elliemasaFeb 6, 2022
Joel Coen's debut solo film, "The Tragedy of Macbeth", is an unworldly and breathtaking visual sensation. Although it may be pleasing to the eye, following the actual storyline is as entertaining as watching paint dry. Coen sets a mature andJoel Coen's debut solo film, "The Tragedy of Macbeth", is an unworldly and breathtaking visual sensation. Although it may be pleasing to the eye, following the actual storyline is as entertaining as watching paint dry. Coen sets a mature and serene yet unnatural and disorienting tone by utilizing black and white film, saturation, lighting, and a minimalistic set. The shadowing and lack of detail in the set are meant to pull focus towards the characters but they do quite the opposite. These non-detail details are the most engaging aspects of the entire film. The far-off, close-up, and overhead shots also serve as beautiful distractions to boring acting. But in addition to diverting attention, these shots don't even serve an actual purpose. All they do is give Coen's ideas a sense of narcissistic prestige. They belong in a photography portfolio rather than a film. The effort Coen put in to creating his vision of Macbeth's unhinged world should be recognized, however, his crafted world is stationary and therefore does not allow the characters to embark on the explosive and chaotic decent that is expected from Shakespeare's "Macbeth". Macbeth, portrayed by Denzel Washington, mirrors the calm set by rendering a fairly calm temperament not only in the beginning, but throughout the entire movie. The internal struggle Macbeth faces when deliberating whether or not to kill Duncan is not shown on Washington's face as he recites the famous dagger soliloquy. The scene in which Macbeth hallucinates Banquo's ghost is a turning point in the original story. The same is not true for Coen's adaptation. Denzel unconvincingly freaks out then moves on to the next scene. Francis McDormand's portrayal of Lady Macbeth was also anything but riveting. When speaking of killing her own flesh and blood, Lady Macbeth seems nonchalant and unconvincing. When she is sleep walking, McDormand's character seems just as underwhelming as before. Both characters went through the motions but showed no depth or adequate rage as they are written in Shakespeare's "Macbeth". While Coen's vision was visually gorgeous, it created an emotional barrier between the characters and the audience. Overall, "The Tragedy of Macbeth" deserves a C-. Expand
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5
Drios1908Feb 6, 2022
The Tragedy of Macbeth is yet another film adaptation of Shakespeare’s play Macbeth, and like many before it, it misses the mark. The movie is amateurish and quite frankly underwhelming, which is surprising considering it features gruesomeThe Tragedy of Macbeth is yet another film adaptation of Shakespeare’s play Macbeth, and like many before it, it misses the mark. The movie is amateurish and quite frankly underwhelming, which is surprising considering it features gruesome deaths and over dramatic performances. The film’s biggest shortcoming is no doubt the absolutely horrible dialogue. The conversations in the movie are hard to follow, not just because of the atrocious delivery of already difficult-to-understand Shakespearean lines but because of how strained every relationship feels. Macbeth and Lady Macbeth often feel like they are not talking to but through each other. In fact, there are times when it feels like the characters are all acting in different movies. With the exception of Denzel Washington, who delivers some of his lines well, everyone seems to either be reading off of a lifeless script or worse, reciting lines for the first time in their lives. The film being in black and white does not help smooth things over and although many reviews like to argue that the lack of color helps convey a sense of foreboding or the “dark mood” of the original play, the only thing it actually does is emphasize how truly boring, and monotone at times, the film is. The only scenes that were even remotely interesting were the ones closer to the end and maybe that is because Macduff’s son was called an “egg” or maybe I was just happy it was almost over. I would give the film a C- since it really wasn’t great but I hope more people hate-watch it. Expand
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5
issimicFeb 7, 2022
The film the Tragedy of Macbeth (2021) had a multitude of both strengths and weaknesses, from the set to the actual character development. In terms of background set, a lot of the set felt undistinguished or empty. The setting had a lot ofThe film the Tragedy of Macbeth (2021) had a multitude of both strengths and weaknesses, from the set to the actual character development. In terms of background set, a lot of the set felt undistinguished or empty. The setting had a lot of potential to be well detailed, and that could have added to the story, but most of the set was either enveloped in fog, or large, empty rooms, which made it feel incredibly impersonal. Some of the set was hard to distinguish at all, which took away from the story a little, as the set can dramatically impact the mood or tone of a scene in a variety of creative ways. However, with the set in mind, the lighting also had a rather interesting feel to it. The play almost felt theatrical, with lighting in certain scenes that resembled something that felt as if it was on a stage. This is an artistic style some people most likely enjoy, especially given that Macbeth originated as a play, but it took away greatly from the movie aspect of the film. Many films strive for a realistic element within them, and I feel the theatrical feel to the lighting pays tribute to the theatrical origins of the play, but also can be rather jarring to the viewers. I also felt that another thing that felt as an aspect of the movie that seemed to take away from the play’s original meaning is that, while all of the characters were well portrayed in general, it felt like some of the characters’ relationships with one another were less prioritized than the character themself. A lot of good characters in media are well developed due to their connection with other characters, and how their relationships allow them to develop. These kinds of inter-character relationships did not seem to be too present / too focused on in the Tragedy of Macbeth, when they could have been used to give the characters an even deeper realistic aspect to them. Overall, I would give the Tragedy of Macbeth a C — while some of the effects within the movie brought it a unique style, the character relationships and the inconsistencies of the movie overall brought them down. Expand
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5
dkapadia1Feb 7, 2022
This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Turned in
Macbeth - Hard to watch, easy to critique.


The Tragedy of Macbeth film was not created with people like me in mind. There is much to be said about how incredible the acting, cinematography, and artistic design were from a film critic standpoint. However, from an audience standpoint, the film was difficult to watch. The square formatting of the film did not add anything to the film other than two annoying black bars. The black and white coloring is not a favorite choice of mine, especially when there are such bright whites and deep blacks make it difficult to keep my eyes on. The black and white coloring also did not help the bland and featureless sets. The sets could be described as "brutalist architecture" by more advanced and professional critics watching the movie from a professional point of view. However, from my standpoint, all I see is cheap and simple styrofoam and plaster with almost no set dressing. No paintings along castle walls, a very still and weird-looking forest that doesn't look alive, and many other dreary sets that could not create the essence of a real scenario. Every branch that the soldiers had looked almost exactly the same. Even the throne room for the king had nothing other than the throne to help decorate it. I have seen plays with better set design and prop design filling rooms up. The bare set was obviously a decision made on purpose not influenced by money, however, it worsens the experience and makes the movie less entertaining by removing a vital part of the movie experience. Many say that these choice are good because it allows for much more dreary and emotional scenes and symbolism within the movie. However, I believe that a movie in a regular format, with full color and more set pieces can allow for exponentially greater emotion. Even with all these bad things, this review would be false if I didn't mention the good scenes. The lighting within the forest was so good I almost saw color(If only there was a better way to show color). The leaves flying into the throne room were unexpected and really enjoyable. It truly shows that Birnam Wood had come to Dunsinane. Because of these few enjoyable scenes, I give this movie a 5.
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