The Tragedy of Macbeth

2021, Drama/Mystery & thriller, 1h 45m

273 Reviews 500+ Ratings

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critics consensus

Led by a stellar Denzel Washington, The Tragedy of Macbeth strips the classic story down to its visual and narrative essentials. Read critic reviews

audience says

Although The Tragedy of Macbeth may not really add anything new to the long list of Shakespeare adaptations, it's visually striking and the cast is terrific. Read audience reviews

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Movie Info

Joel Coen's bold and fierce adaptation of "Macbeth," a tale of murder, madness, ambition, and wrathful cunning.

Cast & Crew

Critic Reviews for The Tragedy of Macbeth

Audience Reviews for The Tragedy of Macbeth

  • Jan 15, 2022
    Coen perfectly toes the line here, his adaptation both finds new and exciting things while always being mindful of the text itself, especially the language. Both Washington and McDormand (and the rest of the cast) are nothing short of spectacular.
    Alec B Super Reviewer
  • Jan 14, 2022
    I'll admit right off the top that I'm personally not a huge fan of Shakespearean dialogue on film. Not that I find it bad in any way, it's just not something that grabs my attention. It's simply not for me and that's okay. With that said, I was still very interested in The Tragedy of Macbeth, both since I heard Joel Coen was writing and directing, but also due to the fact that the trailers visually blew me away. Coming from someone who doesn't find themself attracted to this type of dialogue, The Tragedy of Macbeth is still one of my favourite films of 2021.  The film begins with Macbeth (Denzel Washington) believing he is the next King of Scotland. Never given any real definitive proof that he will be, he makes it his mission to seek it out anyway, regardless of what that entails. Blood must be shed in order to accomplish what he desires and he is supported by his wife Lady Macbeth (Francis McDormand) throughout these endeavours. I very briefly know the story of Macbeth, having only read the play when I was young, but for those who are unaware, this film very carefully takes the highlights of the story to make the film. It never feels overlong and the dialogue kept me engaged from start to finish (that was very surprising to me).  Yes, the dialogue won me over and that impressed me, but the true reason I loved this film as much as I did is within the fact that this is some of the best acting I've seen all year. Denzel Washington commands the screen here as always and Francis McDormand never fails either. Having only seen Corey Hawkins in a handful of things, his portrayal of Macduff here was also stellar. From the first couple of scenes, I was immersed in this world. The dialogue was captivating (and again, I don't even like it).  Not only did The Tragedy of Macbeth have superb performances, but I truly believe this has some of the best camerawork I'll probably see throughout this decade. In striking Black and White, cinematographer Bruno Delbonnel outdid himself here. I was impressed by his work on Inside Llewyn Davis and even though I definitely have to see more from his filmography, I still think he's one of the best out there right now, especially after watching this. The camera was basically its own character in the film, and I haven't been able to say that about many films lately. It was like watching a moving painting. It was art at its finest.  Overall, The Tragedy of Macbeth isn't a film I'll watch over and over again, simply due to the fact that this material doesn't interest me all that much, but I can't deny how good it truly is. Even the direction by Joel Coen was some of the best work he has ever done as well, and that's saying a lot. There is much to admire here. Now streaming on Apple TV+, I highly recommend checking this one out, even for non-Shakespeare fans. What a visual experience this was.
    KJ P Super Reviewer
  • Dec 20, 2021
    At this point, William Shakespeare's tragedy of witchy regicide has been adapted into over 30 movies, most recently in 2015 with Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotilard, so with any new Macbeth the question arises: what will this one offer? The pedigree behind this 2021 film is mesmerizing: Denzel Washington, Frances McDormand, and director Joel Coen. That's enough reason to see another rendition of the Bard, although the best acting comes from a surprise, theater vet Kathryn Hunter who portrays all the witches as one person (plus more). She's captivating and haunting and the highlight of the movie. This is the most, for lack of a better term, ordinary film in Coen's quirky career and his first without brother/collaborator Ethan. It finds a dreamy middle ground between film and theater, utilizing imposing and stark sound stages and striking chiaroscuro black and white photography to feel otherworldly. The eerie, shifting imagery and alien presentation makes the movie feel like a transporting dream oiled by the lugubriousness of Shakespeare's brilliant words. This version also demonstrates some of the more violent actions typically reserved for offstage implications (poor Macduff son). This Macbeth is also shockingly fast-paced, barely clocking in at 105 minutes, about half of the running time for the unabridged stage play. The acting is uniformly good but I was slightly let down by the leads. I guess I was expecting more indulgence in the sheer thespian feast and was surprised they made more of a tiny meal of things. If you're familiar with the source material, there should be enough here to appeal to you, though I still hold the Patrick Stewart BBC production as the best film adaptation yet. Go into The Tragedy of Macbeth expecting good, not transcendentally great, and lean back and enjoy the aural pleasures of theater. Nate's Grade: B
    Nate Z Super Reviewer

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