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The Tragedy of Macbeth

Joel Coen dazzlingly adapts this Scottish play for the screen with Frances McDormand and Denzel Washington mesmeric as the couple whose political ambitions proved their fatal downfall.

Shakespeare’s iconic and much adapted text, written on these shores over 400 years ago, gets a wonderfully fresh and singular reworking in Joel Coen’s first solo outing as a director. Conjuring a beguiling nether-world between theatre and cinema, this is a stunning production. Cinematographer Bruno Delbonnel’s silvery monochrome images, captured in 4:3, are embellished by the moody, near-expressionistic sets by designer Stefan Dechant. Long-term Coens collaborator Carter Burwell surpasses his usual heady brilliance with a score that balances dramatic heft with pure emotion and builds to a spellcasting crescendo. And driving the action is an extraordinary cast led by Washington’s haunted Macbeth and McDormand’s scheming Lady Macbeth.

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