Macbeth - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Macbeth Reviews

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October 16, 2015
I just remembered that I watched this movie very briefly in high school. It looks absolutely beautiful. Perhaps the best cinematic version of Macbeth ever made.
½ September 5, 2015
one of the best made films of its genre....great costume and set design...
July 27, 2015
My personal favorite of all Shakespeare's plays -- Polanski conjures up a witches' brew of Olivier-like internal monologues, unflinchingly honest gore and a landscape as barren as the morality of its protagonist. Superb.
July 24, 2015
Produzido em grande escala, esse filme - quase que com o texto integral de Shakespeare - de Polanski se beneficia também pelo bom elenco.
May 16, 2015
1971 is a year director Roman Polanski will never forget. For it is that year, in which he made this definitive version of William Shakespeare's Macbeth. 1971 is also the year in which the infamous murderer and cult leader Charles Manson got a life sentence in a California prison for the grisly murders of Polanski's pregnant wife Sharon Tate and several family friends in 1969. It is hard not to imagine that this intense personal tragedy did not influence Polanski's craft. The timing of the film speaks unspoken volumes. The film is brutal, harsh and unrelenting. According to Shakespeare, the characters are full of sound and fury, but signify nothing and that is exactly how Polanski films Macbeth. Polanski's adaptation of Macbeth is most likely the closest to The Bard's original intention of the play. A tale of lust and revenge where prophecies and lies mix with shallowness and false bravado. Hallucinations and ghosts are commonplace, while honor and courage are in short supply. This is the medieval world of Macbeth, Macduff, Duncan, Malcolm, Banquo, the three witches, and Lady Macbeth. Daggers are in the character's minds, meanwhile the audience's eyes feast upon stunning cinematography, their ears fill with Shakespeare's dialogue, and feelings of relief come over the viewer that such a world existed only in the past. In addition, a feeling of despair and sorrow arises once the viewer makes the connection that such brutality also touched the life of the director. Any student of Shakespeare, Roman Polanski follower, or film buff in general should take time out to view this film.
½ April 26, 2015
Macbeth is one of the least potent tragedies of Shakespeare and it so happens to one of his overrated works as well. There is no real tragedy as the drama has a continuous even downpour from the very beginning and it's hard to feel sympathy to the titular character. Macbeth lacks the real emotions that made Julius Caesar and Shakespeare's greatest tragedy Hamlet what they are.

Polanski's Macbeth is uneven, but it stays true to the source material. It's performances are mostly unsatisfactory and the ending evokes more laughter than tears or sorrow. However, Polanski is able in creating a rich atmosphere, mood and feel of the dark time.
½ February 14, 2015
I might appreciate this more if I saw it today but when I watched it in school my sophomore year, it traumatized me. I vaguely remember those witches, but mostly I remember Macbeth's severed head being bounced around on a stick while he still had blurred vision. Creepy!
½ February 10, 2015
The Polanski adaptation of the famous Shakespeare tragedy Macbeth is among the best. As always Polanski implies many things in the film without saying them outright, which he is a master of. Since this film came out in 1971, just 2 years after the murder of his wife, many say that this movie is more gory than some of his other movies; it is things like these that make him such a genius director. And the twist end deviating from the original play is in itself very satisfying.
½ January 28, 2015
"Life's but a walking shadow. A poor player struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more. It is a tale told by an idiot.. full of sound and fury, signifying nothing."
½ January 15, 2015
Excellent adaptation. One of the most faithful movies based on Shakespeare. Pretty dark, this was the first movie Polanski made, after the Manson family killed his lady, and you can tell... You can see the pain onscreen.
January 2, 2015
Review In A Nutshell:

My first experience of Roman Polanski's Macbeth was not a very pleasant one; the dialogue was difficult to understand and because of that it was difficult to connect with the film's characters. A second viewing has allowed me to appreciate the film much better, as this time I was able to comprehend most of the film's phrases and words, allowing my experience to be smoother and immersive.

Macbeth covers the story of man who has been informed of his destiny from three witches, stating that he would become the ruler of Scotland. After learning this, he informs his wife of this and she becomes enticed with the idea, and finds herself obsessed and determined in letting this prophecy become a reality. It is a fascinating character study of someone being able to see into their own future and how this knowledge could eventually consume them. It makes me reflect on my own self, thinking whether it would change me as a person if I had the ability to predict the future; will my greed and jealousy shape me into a different and ill man? Humanity is obsessed with finding answers in order to gain a sense of security; little do they know that having this intelligence could actually be the cause of your doom.

I have always felt that Roman Polanski is at his best when he is handling material that is contemporary rather than period, as his contemporary characters feel more complex; I truly felt that the protagonist in The Pianist to be simplistic, lacking of fine detail. Here in Macbeth, he has proven me wrong as the titular character is such a tortured soul, anchored with intense psychological fractures caused from their betrayal and sin, making him such an interesting character to follow; the same goes for Lady Macbeth, who suffers the same issues as her husband.

Polanski has taken the theatrical trademark of the material, and placed it in a cinematic form; capturing it with a surrealistic tone and style, letting the internal torment be visible for the audience to see; letting the actors be free from having to plainly convey it in their performance. It is Polanski and his director of photography's (Gilbert Taylor) use of the camera that lets this classic tale not become a stage translation but instead a cinematic re-imagination, whilst maintaining the integrity of the source material. The sets in this film is accurate but also lavish, and his camera captures and moves through the set with such grace that we forget that it is easy to get lost into the period.

Macbeth proves why Polanski is one of the greatest directors of the 20th century. He is able to take an over-adapted material and brings something fresh and exciting with it.
½ November 7, 2014
Polanski's dark, ominous, moody, atmospheric, grandiose, grotesque, and graphically violent adaptation of "Macbeth" is EXACTLY how Shakespearean tragedies are meant to be translated into cinema.
October 4, 2014
Roman Polanski runs riot, innovative and feverish; grotesque and beautiful.
September 24, 2014
I'm not really into Shakespearean film adaptations; at the most, I somewhat enjoy the movie but don't really connect to it. For example, I recognize that Branagh's Hamlet film is pretty great, and well-acted, and well-directed, but it's not a movie I actively enjoyed watching all four hours of. This movie was much the same, though it was really interesting to see what Polanski did to interpret Macbeth. It was a very dark vision of a dark play, with nudity and gratuitous violence that isn't always implied by the text. It was interesting to see, and the elements Polanski added are intriguing (like the final scene with Donalbain).
½ July 28, 2014
Polanski's battle-axe to the head take on The Bard's most violent epic about absolute power gone absolutely bat-shit-crazy.
½ April 19, 2014
Shakespeare as done like a HAMMER horror film and, while it is problematic, it's also beautifully shot and acted.
½ February 9, 2014
Grim, violent adaptation of Shakespeare's savage tale of ambition and greed. Filled with terrific performances and some trippy visuals -- although the fight scenes feature a little too much undercranking for mine -- you can see the anger Polanski poured into this, his first film after the murder of his first wife, Sharon Tate. I imagine certain scenes of women being beaten, raped and murdered, and another of a foetus being ripped from a womb, would have hit particularly close to home -- you can feel Polanski working through his despair on film. This is also evident in the film's utter humourlessness -- yes it's a serious play, but before this, Polanski would always work humour into even the darkest of his films.
January 19, 2014
Polanski's Macbeth is a great film. Not the most eloquent of reviews but it is fitting.
December 31, 2013
Weird, Bonkers and disturbing from director Roman Polanski. Very well made film, but maybe just a tad too overlong, good performance from Jon Finch as Macbeth despite not understanding half the stuff he says. Still a great film, superbly shot and worth a gander to see Francesca Annis in the nud.
½ November 5, 2013
It's a great adaptation from Shakespeare but I missed more chemistry between Finch and Annis. The couple is the main thing in this story and it deserved stronger scenes. It's a film, the director can create some things to add more power to the original plot (of course, being loyal to Shakespeare creation). The action scenes were a little bit bad too.
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