By Ashton Samson
=4.5/5 🌝🌝🌝🌝🌛. Twitter: @ashboomstick2
Another adaptation of Macbeth? Why do we need it? This may be the principal perspective of the majority as they, with some hesitance, head into theaters to watch Joel Coen’s first film without his brother, an adaptation of The Tragedy of Macbeth. However, I assure you that Cohen’s idea to adapt this again is valid, because the unique filmmaking sensibilities that he brings to the table ensure that this is a Shakespearan adaptation unlike any other.
There are three specific aspects to the film that are particularly innovative. The decision to utilize minimalism and pare down everything in the film to its bare essentials highlights the performances, especially the soliloquies given by the always powerful Denzel Washington and Frances McDormand.
The black and white, negative space and stark, barren artistry of the set design contribute to magnifying the supernatural universe of Macbeth. Kathryn Hunter’s scene-stealing performance as the three witches emphasizes the supernatural universe of the text to a degree previously unseen in film. Cohen’s The Tragedy of Macbeth is the definitive adaptation because it magnifies the profound dialogue written by the Bard as well as the supernatural universe he created through the use of cinematographic minimalism, accentuation on stark set-design and the focus on in-depth performances by the actors.This Shakespearean adaptation is shorter than most and that is certainly an aspect of the minimalistic qualities that Cohen brings to his movie. At 105 minutes, it is exceptionally concise; many of the indispensable lines are still featured and yet Cohen seems to subtract a decent amount of the original text without creating any significant damage. The succinct nature of the film as evidenced by its runtime is representative in general of the minimalist qualities of this adaptation.