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Francesca Annis as Lady Macbeth
Martin Shaw as Banquo
Jon Finch as Macbeth
Ronald Lacey as Macbeths man - killed Banquo
720p 1080p
930.44 MB
23.976 fps
2hr 20 min
P/S 4 / 42
2.05 GB
23.976 fps
2hr 20 min
P/S 3 / 18

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by rwint1611 8 / 10

One of the Best Versions of a Shakespeare Play That I Have Seen

THE PLOT: Through ambition, greed, and the spurring of his wife a man rises to the ranks of King, but leaves murder, destruction, guilt, and a wide array of enemies in his wake.

THE POSITIVE: This is visually stunning from beginning to end. The photography of the Scottish landscape seems almost surreal. Although some may argue that the violence is excessive it is still well done and works in a nice lyrical fashion with the script. The gory special effects are very realistic and top anything that I have seen in any slasher movie especially the decapitation scene. The witches also come off as looking very frightening here. The scene in their coven where you see dozens of fully nude elderly women is grotesquely brilliant. This is one Shakespeare rendition that doesn't have any of the stiff staginess. The characters seem to be having real conversations and their lines are spoken in a much more natural way. Finch is absolutely perfect in the lead. The facial expressions that he show during Macbeth's different phases are fascinating and right on target. This would be a good version to show to teenagers and others who might not ordinarily be into Shakespeare. The action is well mounted and paced so anyone would be able to follow it even if they are not able to completely grasp the language.

THE NEGATIVE: Outside of a relentlessly bleak visual style that may be too much for some there really isn't anything negative about it.

THE LOWDOWN: This is the best film adaptation to Shakespeare's work that I have seen. It is exciting, graphic, realistic, visual, and captivating all at the same time even for those that may not be into Shakespeare.

THE RATING: 8 out of 10.

Reviewed by MisterWhiplash 10 / 10

certainly not a sunny story, but it's as darkly exhilarating and ominous as any Shakespeare adaptation can get

To get the obvious out of the way- Roman Polanski directed Macbeth as the first film following the death of his wife, Sharon Tate, and unborn child at the hands of Charles Manson's gang. That factor in the film- not least of which in small details, like the first shot after the opening credits where a man finishing slaying someone looks just like Manson, beard and all- is undeniable, but it shouldn't be counted as the sole influence. Aside from the purging, as far as I can figure, Polanski was doing for himself by going all out in showing the frank and bloody depictions of violence and almost cleansing (as Lady Macbeth would do in madness) of blood on hands that could never come off, of the sort of psychological impact of violence and its aftermath, it was a bloody time in the world and in films. As Vietnam continued to go on, the best films of 1971- and Macbeth could be counted as one of them- were some of the most stylish and explicit in how they attacked systems of government, corruption, and bad-ass anti-heroes or outright villains (A Clockwork Orange and Dirty Harry come immediately to mind). It would practically be dishonest, in a sense, for Polanski not to show how grotesque the acts of murder that, for example, Macbeth's men do on MacDuff's family and servants, or the simple, sadistic carnage of Macbeth's final curtain call in the climax, considering the mood and controversies of the period.

Compared to some of the really radical films of the year, however, Macbeth's story is as old and cherished as children's fables. Yes, children, you all remember the story of ambitious young Macbeth, prodded on by the alleged prophecies of three weird witches, who murders the king by his own (and his wife's) accord, and soon goes mad as power grips him into overreaching his domain and believing himself to be invincible to all but a fleet of woods. Not really too much happiness in Shakespeare's work, and all the better, as it might be his masterpiece: a saga of the frailties of the human conscience and abstractions of consciousness, where the supernatural substitutes just as well for faith in some religious calling- and a questioning and doubt throughout- and what it does to those around the Mr & Mrs who still can't cope deep down with killing a man in the dead of night. Yet even more incredible is that Polanski, as well as Kurosawa with Throne of Blood, enrich the material with the film adaptations, changing around some scenes, omitting some altogether, and offering brands of surrealism based on preferred styles.

While Kurosawa stuck to the Noh method for much of his film, Polanski's Macbeth is an atmospheric milestone as far as concrete production design can go (never once does it feel like they used a fake castle, or much of a fake set even), and all the grays and dark Earth colors, especially when Macbeth goes to the witches a second time, blend into something that matches the psychological conundrum of the king of Scotland and his desperate wife. But seeing Polanski take things further, with touches of the bizarre (the floating and illusionary dagger, the drops of blood in Lady's hands, and the spectacular scene of Macbeth seeing through the windows, shot in a hazy and pirouetting camera), and showing what was only alluded to in strange and exciting ways- the killing scene in the bedroom feels almost like the Psycho shower scene, missed stabs and the messy quality of it all, only from the guilty party's point of view. This, plus the attention to detail in storytelling, the nuanced and gleefully over-the-top dialog provided very close to the original text, and even hand-held camera-work right out of something in Repulsion, makes this a work of daring for Polanski, not simply in the realm of elaborate fights (though there is that) or blood-shed (a lot of that) or decapitations (one or two gushing ones).

Though not to forget as part of the success too, aside from the director's total control of mis-en-scene, are the actors. Jon Finch, who also appeared in Frenzy, is a tightly wound loose cannon, if that makes sense, whose voice-over narration sometimes blends in with talking to himself, and the look in his eyes sometimes tells all, or perhaps not, as case might be. Although Welles and Mifune have their fair share of great Macbeth points in other films, Finch proves himself as on their same level, if only for this one moment in his career. Also very noteworthy (albeit such a meaty part for any actress) is Francessa Annis as Lady Macbeth, and Terence Baylor as MacDuff, and Stephan Chase as Malcolm is a very good choice. And as usual Polanski populates his picture with effective faces, strange looks that seem very conventional and at the same time all apart of the visual and mood. I loved seeing the whole room of witches, most naked (thanks to Hugh Hefner mayhap), and it almost seeming as if a bare minimum of make-up was used.

Bottom line, if you're looking for a hallmark of the dark literary drama, or a disturbing tale of the madness of power, or just a classic Polanski film, it's all here.

Reviewed by MidniteRambler 9 / 10

An effective and stunning adaptation

Dark, bloody and brooding version of Shakespeare's play about a doomed Scottish king who was, according to his wife, Lady MacBeth "too full of the milk of human kindness to catch the nearest way". This is one of Shakespeare's later plays and is entirely devoid of some of the lighter moments prevalent in his earlier work.

Macbeth, a loyal Scottish thane and a cousin of King Duncan, is waylaid with his companion, Banquo, by three witches who prophesise that he will become king and that Banquo will beget kings. Once MacBeth has informed his wife of these predictions, he is propelled by her and by his own lust for power on a journey of self-destruction leading ultimately to madness. In his determination to bring about the witches' predictions, he kills his liege-lord, steals the crown from the rightful heirs, who flee into exile on suspicion of regicide and patricide, then orders the secret murder of ally and friend Banquo and Banquo's son Fleance. So begins a descent into a nightmare existence, replete with ghostly apparitions, sleepless angst and withering self-doubt. Gradually mutual distrust emerges between himself and the nobles whose support maintains his position, and eventually he murders the wife and children of one MacDuff, an act which symbolises the horror he has become. MacDuff, along with other Scottish nobles, has joined the exiled heir, Malcolm, who lives under the protection of the English king. An army of rebellion - or liberation - is brought to bear on MacBeth's stronghold, whilst inside, MacBeth has begun "to grow aweary of the sun". The witches have told him that he cannot be killed by any "man of woman born". But, in the final fight scene, he learns too late that MacDuff "was, from his mother's womb, untimely ripped" and that the witches have, in Banquo's words from the start of the play, won him "with honest trifles" and betrayed him "in deepest consequence", and his destruction is complete.

This is a suitably melancholic reading, full of images of blood, of sombre leaden skies, of torrential downpours and of thickset, bearded nobles. Scotland is presented as a gloomy outcrop on the edge of the known world and the sun has been heavily filtered by Polanski, giving the film a surreal and eerie feel and stressing the superstitious environment in which the play is set. We are also treated to a fair representation of the early Middle Ages, a time when travelling lords and ladies and their kith and kin slept communally on straw in the great halls, side by side with their massive hunting dogs.

The obviously archaic dialogue has been abridged and everso slightly updated for modern audiences. The lines are delivered eloquently by the two leads, Jon Finch and Francesca Annis, who are well matched as the doomed couple, and this clipped entry would be a good introduction to Shakespeare for those of the MTV-set with a literary inclination. All in all a good stab at bringing Shakespeare into the twentieth century and an effort which the bard himself might well have smiled upon.

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