The Bard's tragic tale of the ambitious, feeble minded, and ill-fated Scottish Thane has been told many times on film, often in exemplary productions. Justin Kurzel's latest adaptation, a bloodied, scenic, and dourly sumptuous take made in the viscerally violent vein of the recent Aussie cinema, is enervating enough to stand aside Welles, Polanski, and Kurosawa, creators of story's finest entrants. To open up the material, Kurzel starts with a frigid and savage opening battle and an awe inspiring closing onlaught, engages in frenetic cutting, and has his characters break the fourth wall. Michael Fassbender brings a sullenness and quiet ferocity to the title role and I wish there was more of Marion Cotillard as Lady Macbeth, who again demonstrates why she is one of our finest actresses. The doomed couple is surrounded by an upstanding supporting cast, all in fine form, Paddy Considine, David Thewlis, and Sean Harris among them.
*** 1/2 out of ****