Joel Coen’s first solo project without collaboration with his brother, Ethan Coen, was his adaptation of William Shakespeare’s “Macbeth.”
Coen’s version is shot in black-and-white and has an ominous film noir tone throughout. His masterful use of light and dark makes a visually stunning film. This adaptation of “Macbeth” was the best recent Shakespeare adaptation I have seen in some time now.
The acting in the film by Denzel Washington as Macbeth, Frances McDormand as Lady Macbeth, Brendan Gleeson as Duncan, Alex Hassell as Ross, Bertie Carvel as Banquo, Corey Haskins as Macduff, and Kathryn Hunter as the witches, among others was superb. Particularly, Mr. Washington’s rendition of the film’s titular character was both passionate and dark.
The story is fast-moving and keeps the audience in rapt attention from the outset. Despite being more than 400 years old, the story, it’s intrigue and even the delivery of the lines were all done flawlessly by the cast.
Joel Coen as a pair with his brother, Ethan, have made some excellent and memorable films in the past, but “The Tragedy of Macbeth” might be my favorite among the thrillers he has directed.
For more on the cinematography of the film, a collaboration of Coen and cinematographer Bruno Delbonnel, ASC, AFC, check out this article from American Cinematographer.
Watch “The Tragedy of Macbeth” in theaters or streaming free for subscribers on Apple TV+.