A visually brutal adaptation of a theatrical production that combines the experience of stylized European director's theater with the documentary-film imagery of war, Stalinist totalitarianism, dystopian landscapes. The result is not as much a drama (although the acting itself is riveting) as a series of rapidly-changing tableaux that bring a striking newness to Shakespeare's language. Sir Patrick Stewart performs the role of a lifetime. As a Shakespearian actor, he manipulates Shakespeare's words so that they ring authentically, as if we are hearing them for the first time.
This Macbeth channels the early Polish Roman Polanski, the imaginings of a Stanley Kubrick, the gritty grayness of 1984. It HAD to be shown as a PBS "Great Performances," for I cannot imagine it attracting a commercial audience, or even a film festival one, since it seems more like an brilliant artistic experiment that might have its most successful showing in the context of a museum. It is complex, worthy of endless dissection of words and images. My experience of it had less emotion involvement than fascination with creative process behind the filmmaking.
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