MacBeth @ the Barbican Centre PDF Print E-mail
Music - Film
Written by TK   

Geoffrey Wright shocked the Australian movie industry some years back with Romper Stomper, a film based on a neo-Nazi gang in Melbourne which was not only non-apologetically violent but arguably kick-started Russell Crowe's Hollywood career. 

However, his take on "Macbeth" is most odd. 

Wright has taken to Macbeth like Baz Lurhmann did Romeo and Juliet, in the sense that they have both added a modern setting to the classic plays.  However Lurhmann's Romeo and Juliet was infinitely more satisfying and entertaining than Macbeth is.

Filmed in Melbourne and starring Sam Worthington as Macbeth, Gary Sweet as Duncan and Victoria Hill as Lady Macbeth, Wright casts a new context to Shakespeare's play based loosely on the Melbourne crime-scene and particularly the gangland murders that have rocked the cosy Australian city and made the Mafia-infused city of Naples look like a doll's house in comparison.

Wright's analogous use of the gangland scene with the story-line of Macbeth is somewhat inspiring - both the criminal underworld of Melbourne and the play's plot have the themes of deceit, jealously, power, murder, money, love and ambition.  However it is at this one powerful analogy that the film's inspiration ends.

The violence is truly shocking in Bruce Willis' Sin City fashion, but without Sin City's parody and almost comic-book take on the violence.  There is more blood spilt in the movie than in an abattoir, more murders than in the Melbourne gangland (and that is saying something), and more use of gritty, dark cinematography with the omnipresent falling of rain than in Bladerunner (again, no mean feat).

If anything, the film is overly-ambitious.  It is worth a look only if you are interested in seeing how creative a director can get in his intrepretation of Shakespeare.

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