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Macbeth (1998)

TV Movie  -  15 January 1998 (UK)
6.3
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English thespian Sean Pertwee plays the painfully ambitious royal who schemes to murder so he can ascend to the throne in this superior version of William Shakespeare's literary classic. ... See full summary »

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Title: Macbeth (TV Movie 1998)

Macbeth (TV Movie 1998) on IMDb 6.3/10

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English thespian Sean Pertwee plays the painfully ambitious royal who schemes to murder so he can ascend to the throne in this superior version of William Shakespeare's literary classic. Spurred by the pressure exerted by his equally power-hungry wife, Lady MacBeth (Greta Scacchi), the Thane conspires to kill, but is so overcome with guilt that he's unable to wash the blood off his hands -- literally and figuratively. Written by Polly_Kat

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A Macbeth that does a lot with a little.
3 February 2001 | by (Oregon USA) – See all my reviews

I saw this version of Macbeth in an interesting format. Someone took this movie and broke it up into chunks of about 15 or 20 minutes for use in the classroom. And I couldn't think of a better version for that purpose.

Though clearly of modest budget, it is not cheap. Rather it skillfully uses available resources to create a stark, clear (and trimmed down) production. It does this by being strangely, yet coherently, anachronistic. The nature of the characters and the scenes determine the prevailing time period of the props, costumes and setting; so they are more than mere set dressing and non-verbally communicate information about who the characters are. Usurper Macbeth never rises above his castle in an abandoned factory, which contrasts with the elegance of the rightful heir Malcolm's pristine English manor.

The delineations aren't strict... the witches' Mad Max post-apocalyptic world sits in the midst of contemporary warfare. The banquet shows Macbeth's futile attempt at legitimacy in a clash of period and style. But rather than creating chaos, this mixing keeps the characters visually consistent throughout the production.

The performances are excellent, but not outstanding, and fall into the standard British Shakespearean rhythms which can take some acclimatization for people not accustomed to it. But the acting fits the context of the setting while staying true to Shakespeare. Though not a definitive Macbeth, it is one I can watch with pleasure whenever the local public broadcasting channel broadcasts it as a teacher's resource. And I wouldn't mind having the complete version without the breaks.


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