That having been said, this is a fantastic film. It is extremely dark, at times shockingly brutal, but true to the play. The costumes are great, and the dirty, dusty castle setting is accurate for the era. There are very few lines that have been disregarded, and the dialogue does not embellish or add to Shakespeare's classic. Nobody has, before or since, had the gonads to really emphasize the darker elements of Shakespeare while staying true to the play. "Titus" tried, but inserted too much modern-day silliness to be considered a serious endeavour. This is as true to the play as it can get, and doesn't apologize for it. If you can get past the violence and the sometimes cheesy 70s background music, you will love it. In addition, its gloomy atmosphere and violence might actually have the added benefit nowadays of interesting kids in The Bard.
British actor, Jon Finch, has the title role, and he expertly peels away the various levels of his character's personality--his Macbeth is no cardboard villain. His performance is more than matched by Francesca Annis as Lady Macbeth, whose twisted mind and blood-soaked hands drive her to madness. Performances by other members of this primarily British cast are all fine, with Martin Shaw particularly effective as Banquo.
The other "star" here, of course, is Polanski. The story of Macbeth, and the times in which it occurred, were brutal, primitive, stark--wars were constant--men settled disputes with swords, daggers, axes and maces--death was not heroic or pretty--women and children could be victims as well. Polanski portrays this environment with as much matter-of-fact authenticity as possible. There are certainly some gory scenes, even by current cinema standards, and the final battle between Macbeth and his sworn enemy Macduff is far from some of the choreographed sword fights in Hollywood movies. The spare landscape and ancient castles add to the atmosphere--for interior scenes, light is used very sparingly, to add to the mood and sense of foreboding.
The scenes with the three witches are creepy and effective.
I do have one question.Read more ›