Cinema, and first of all television have got us accustomed to productions about nothing, existing only for one, spectacular element. Baywatch existing only in order to show off the bust of Pamela and the chest of David, Lara Croft with the spectacularly beautiful Angelina and many, many others. Still, when one of the tragedies by Shakespeare gets filmed, we expect something more. Especially when it is Macbeth, one of the greatest, most sophisticated tragedies of all times. We expect psychological depth, sophistication, the transition of an honest man (though not strong enough to resist the pressure from his wife) and finally that pressure and manipulation itself. We expect the glorious transition into a villain, a thug, the brilliant scene of the feast when Macbeth sees a ghost, we expect the madness of his wife and many, many more delights. We expect acting fireworks wonder if the interpretation is going to be ascetic, controlled or full of energy, exuberant, We wonder how the cast and director are going to tackle the masterpiece and what more depths they are going to discover.
Yet in the film by Justine Kurzel we shan’t find any of these things. His Macbeth is… completely free of Macbeth, castrated in a truly perfect manner. We get exquisite camera work (in itself a reason to go to the cinema), brilliant music and that is about it. Macbeth is not here. There is not a trace of psychological development, change, doubts or madness. There is absolutely nothing except for extended battle scenes and a handsome, though sort of flat, two dimensional main character played with such intensity that I started missing Żebrowski.