Sunday, 4 October 2015

Review: Macbeth

World of Blackout Film Review

Cert: 15 / 113 mins / Dir. Justin Kurzel / Trailer
WoB Rating: 5/7


Scotland's Thespians Recalled by Parliament Following Referendum Snub...

Macbeth Poster In an audacious blow to the British film industry, SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon has recalled all Scotch actors not currently overseas to the north-side of The Wall.

Following the anniversary of the SNP's referendum defeat, a faintly downcast Sturgeon decided that England could cast its own bloody Caledonian characters, if it thinks it's so bloody easy.

Crucially, the ruling doesn't apply to the likes of Ewan McGregor and Gerard Butler, the majority of whose undemanding work comes via the Hollywood studio system, and who send their muckle pay back home to relatives in the top half of the British Isles.


"If you're going to shoot The Scotch Film outside an English castle, you can fucking well whistle if you think we're going to stump up James McAvoy or David Tennant for it," Sturgeon thundered, sitting on a bench outside Hollyrood Palace in Edinburgh. "Hey, why not use Paddy Considine from Staffordshire, and David Thewlis from Lancashire, eh? They should have no trouble at all pulling the accent off! In fact, I'm sure that's exactly what yon Wullie Shakespeare envisioned, the bleddy Sassenach…"

Despite a number of renegade Scotch character actors defying the bill and playing smaller, supporting roles in the production, the subsequent casting of two French actresses, one American and three English actors to play the film's principally Scotch characters caused the predicted amount of consternation within the industry.


Further controversy arose when German/Irish thespian Michael Fassbender was added to the roster in the lead role. In a statement from the front steps of RADA in London last week, Fassbender assured the press and fans alike that the majority of his speech for The Scotch Film is in a register so low and gruff that he adopts His Film Voice™ which, whilst technically English, is devoid of nationality until involved in any conversational dialogue, after which point it's Fassbender As Usual™.

The new film's Australian director, Justin Kurzel, was less than fazed by the reaction. "Traditionally, those Scotch Lairds and the like were all sent to England for a private education anyway, which is why they had English accents like Richard Briers did in 'Monarch Of The Glen'. In our adaptation of the story, we'll just say that Ian Macbeth's private school was situated equidistantly between Dublin and Los Angeles. And Delhi."


Famously, Fassbender is restricted with a voice-over ban until 2021 after being charged with failing to control an accent in a built-up screenplay during Matthew Vaughn's 2011 X-Men sequel.
"We've trademarked the word 'Scotland' as well," Sturgeon added, "…so good luck!"

Is this film worth paying £10+ to see?
In terms of cinematic spectacle, absolutely. The real reason for that largely sarcastic-sounding review above is that I just don't have too much to say about it. I'm really not a fan of Shakespeare (largely because of the dialogue, not the stories themselves), and had to swot-up on Macbeth beforehand, a precaution which served me well.

But this is much, much more than a play which has been fed through the Weinstein's screenplay machine. This is a full thematic adaptation, more film than play but still firmly rooted in the source-text. Macbeth looks utterly fantastic, almost like an art installation with a story being performed around it

Well, I don't like the cinema. Buy it, rent it, or wait for it to be on telly?
Scholars of The Bard will want to buy this and analyse the connection with its parent-work (and the areas where it stands on its own feet). For the rest, a rental should suffice.

Does this film represent the best work of the leading performer(s)?
The film is fantastically acted, even if the accents are all over the shop (although rarely in Scotland, funnily enough).

Does the film achieve what it sets out to do?
As noted above, it's difficult for me to tell if the themes of the play are transcribed accurately (I know some have certainly been re-interpreted).
But going with my instinct, I'd say yes

Will I think less of you if we disagree about how good/bad this film is?

Oh, and is there a Wilhelm Scream in it?
Unless it's been well-buried in the opening battle-scene, no.

…but what's the Star Wars connection?
Marion Cotillard appeared in 2003's Big Fish, as did Ewan 'Kenobi' McGregor.
Who is Scotch

And if I HAD to put a number on it…

• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.

• Yes, I know it's 'Scottish' and not 'Scotch', thanks. Except that a) That there Rabbie Burns used to use the word 'Scotch', and he was more Scottish than Ian Braveheart swigging a cocktail of Buckie and Irn Bru at the top of Arthur's Seat whilst hurling foul-mouthed insults in the direction of Berwick, and b) My use of the term 'Scotch', much like the rest of this review, is not intended to be taken seriously. The focus point of any joke here is not the Scottish people, rather the notable absence of them in the film's major roles, and the fact that the castle used for the central location is in England. 'The Scottish Play', indeed. Oh, and Michael Fassbender's accent (again).
So by all means leave that indignant missive in the Comments-section, but I assure you there's no need ;)

• Yen's blog contains harsh language and even harsher notions of propriety. Reader discretion is advised.

• This is a personal blog. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own thoughts (at the time of writing) and not those of the people, institutions or organisations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.

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