Macbeth (2015) Director: Justin Kurzel (15)

The Scottish Play is treated beautifully by director Justin Kurzel, with powerful performances from Michael Fassbender as the lead and Marion Cotillard as Lady Macbeth. Perhaps the real star is the stunning cinematography from Adam Arkapaw, with locations including Scotland, Northumberland and Cambridgeshire; castles, battlefields, forests and Highlands sweep before us, as we're drawn into the glorious landscape. It'll be great for Scotland's tourism, as was Skyfall.
Fassbender's Macbeth meets the 'Weird Sisters' of the three witches (maybe four, including a spooky child - counting the baby as five may be taking it a little too far) who deliver the prophecy that one day he will be King of Scotland. Cotillard gees him up to take that position by murdering the current King. Things then go very bad. It's a film about rightful power, heirs and loss - the opening shot shows Macbeth and his wife grieving over the death of their child - and the fate/lineage of the children in the story is incredibly important. We're faced with one shocking scene, akin to an infamous murder in Game of Thrones season 5, where Macbeth does the unthinkable. Although a difficult watch, it's vital to the denouement of the film.
Utterly gripping in his lead, Fassbender is believable as a warrior and as a developing tyrant - this is one of his best roles to date. Cotillard is also excellent, but it's Sean Harris as Macduff who is the real stand out; he's one of our most compelling and watchable actors. It's Macduff who discovers King Duncan's (David Thewlis) body and raises the alarm around camp that there has been treason and murder most foul. He spits and literally sicks out his grief and anger, but there is more to come that makes him the man he is in the film's conclusion. It's an extraordinary performance.
You don't have to know the play to appreciate the power and breathtaking settings of Kurzel's Macbeth; it's a tricky start but make it to the first murder and it'll have you from then on. This is an astounding piece of filmmaking, with class through and through.
5/5 daggers you may well see before you
Reviewed at Light House, Wolverhampton. For more information, please visit