Crime boss Duncan (Gary Sweet) rules Melbourne gangs with an iron fist, relying on his loyal henchmen, including Macbeth (Sam Worthington).  Macbeth destroys the loyalty, after a visit by three angels who tell him he’s destined for greatness.  Plotting with his wife Lady Macbeth (Victoria Hill), they both set out to take over the underworld for themselves.  The price of ambition and greed becomes ever more potent as they both climb the crooked ladder of deceit.
Re-interpretations of Shakespeare’s works have been created hundreds of years after the great mans passing.  The most famous recent cinematic example is the 1996 version of Romeo & Juliet.  The gaudy neon colour of that film has been replaced here by a brooding blackness, which reflects the blackness inherent in Macbeth’s cold heart. Sam Worthington plays his role very well, showing a man crumbling under the weight of continuing madness, whilst plotting the next ganghit.  He spouts Shakespeare’s poetic words reasonably effectively, although an awkwardness in delivery is evident, with he and the other actors trying too hard to do them justice.
The multi faceted cast all do well in their parts, with Director Geoffrey Wright concentrating on their style of movement, as well as the dialogue.  One glance from certain characters tells the audience all they need to know, increasing the feeling of impending dread.  Victoria Hill, Lachy Hill are both excellent in their pivotal roles, serving as a conduit for Macbeth’s decimated soul.  Comedian Mick Molloy and his brother appear as assassins, showing off Wright’s daring touch at casting against type.
Dressing up the Bards words in a modern setting is nothing new, with his timeless works being easily adaptable.  The masterful structure of his play is in evidence here, with a basic plot that could mirror today’s society.  The whole film appears as a study in psychological breakdown, with one man’s lust for power bringing everyone down with him.  The cinematography brings out the darkness of the gang world, and only uses day scenes sparsely.  Colour is kept to a bare minimum, with Wright focusing on performances rather than surroundings.  Wright uses several quirky directorial flourishes, even having the end credits play backwards.
Not as commercially accessible as Bazz Luhrmann’s ‘Romeo & Juliet’, ‘Macbeth’ still packs a powerful punch.  The fine acting and directing style do justice to the play, with the more quiet sombre moments adding layers to an already great story. 
Rating out of 10:   7

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