Scotland, Pa. Reviews
Writer/Director Billy Morrissette has made a really fantastic film here - an updating of Macbeth, changing the setting to a fast food joint in Scotland, Pennsylvania (see what they did there?) in the 1970's.
Rather than a tragedy, the film plays as a black comedy with tragic undertones, mostly played for laughs with an excellent cast. Maura Tierney is truly terrific as Pat McBeth, getting the character just the right shades of wisecracking, manipulative and sympathetic. James LeGros is solid as ever as 'Mac' McBeth, and Christopher Walken is very funny without resorting to his usual creepy shtick. There's also a nice cameo from Amy Smart.
There are some really great touches here - I particularly liked how the "washing of the blood" from Lady Macbeth's hands is updated, and how the ghostly visions Mac has are filmed. Great stuff, and I *love* the soundtrack.
It's a great movie for students who are learning about Macbeth to watch because it's A: it's not boring and B: although it is not the exact story line, the movie is gets the gist of the play. The movie has everything you need to explain Macbeth. It has murders, prophecies, lying and action. Out of five stars I would rate this movie at a 3. It honestly helped me understand Shakespeare's "Macbeth" a lot better. If I were Shakespeare and I was able to see this movie, I would be pleased how well and how interesting it follows the plays story line.
The film begins with Joe McBeth(James LeGros) and Pat McBeth (Maura Tierney) working at Duncan's, fast food restaurant. McBeth has many ideas to improve the restaurant but they never get considered. After the assistant manager of the restaurant gets fired and the place turns into a drive thru, McBeth and his wife decide to take action in the opportunity and kill Duncan. They succeed and eventually turn Duncan's into McBeth's restaurant. The restaurant continues selling burgers, but just when the McBeth's think everything is alright, McBeth's friend Banko and Lieutenant McDuff(Christopher Walken) start suspecting of them killing Duncan. This brings the McBeths to have hallucinations because of their guilt and they aren't capable of following through with the rest of the events. McBeth ends up killing Banko since he knows too much and he begins to lose his sanity. The witches in this film are stoned hippies. These hippies tell McBeth to kill McDuff but in a turn of events McBeth is the one who ends up being killed when he falls of the building. In the end of the film, McDuff turns the restaurant into McDuff's instead of McBeth's.
Most of the characters in this film are very similar to those of the famous play. McBeth just like in the play is a sympathetic villain, he is easily persuaded by his wife who only lusts for power. She causes McBeth to turn ambitious, paranoid, and greedy. Both characters lose sanity which leads them to their death. The film involves a lot of profanity from the characters. The director's choice of actors was very clever since they were very similar to the characters they portrayed. As for the costumes, they were very much like how people in the 70's would dress, the language and personality of the characters as well fit into the 70's theme. Scotland PA, is not a movie for everyone but it is certainly for someone who enjoys dark comedy or the works of Shakespeare. People without knowledge of the play Macbeth, would just think the characters are awkward and strange.