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Overall Rating
3.42

Awesome46.67%
Worth A Look: 11.11%
Average: 4.44%
Pretty Bad: 13.33%
Total Crap: 24.44%

1 review, 39 user ratings


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Macbeth (1971)
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by Rob Gonsalves

"Not for the faint of heart or sensitive of stomach."
5 stars

In 1969, Roman Polanskiís pregnant wife Sharon Tate was murdered by members of the Manson Family. When he chose as his post-Manson project what is arguably Shakespeareís most disturbing play, critics thought they knew what to expect and responded accordingly.

Seen today, Macbeth is dark, malignant, shot through with the most upsetting and gut-wrenching violence you will ever see in a major-studio release ó and itís also one of the finest film versions of the Bard. Polanski made the play his own, incorporating it neatly into his body of work without lessening its impact.

This Macbeth (Jon Finch) is young and opaque, a man whose throes of guilt arenít quite convincing. Polanski is after something more distressing than murdered sleep. He humanizes the victims, not the various killers (an understandable approach for him at the time); thatís why we feel each stabbing and bashing so intensely. By the end, we root for Macduff to go kick Macbethís ass ó and, of course, he does, in a clanging, exhausting swordfight that climaxes with a truly shocking decapitation.

In keeping with the Polanski tradition of complex female characters, Francesca Annis creates a Lady Macbeth who looks and acts soft yet is capable of the coldest schemes. The men are locked into cycles of violence. Polanski may be saying that even kings or would-be kings share the same animalistic DNA as Manson and his followers. The violence is far from the airborne, romanticized stuff you see in something like 300; when Macbeth unsheathes his dagger and slices open a man's face, the man gasps and clutches his now-ruined cheek before Macbeth finishes him off. It's that gasp that makes you wince. You don't need to see the blood; Polanski has made you feel the man's pain.

The prevailing mood of this 'Macbeth' is disgust, not remorse, and many Shakespeare purists loathe it. But movie lovers who feel thereís more than one way to approach the plays should take a look (albeit through their fingers).

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=3518&reviewer=416
originally posted: 03/11/07 10:33:32
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User Comments

8/07/14 crorkz USA 2 stars
8/01/14 haydenk this movie is so shit fml 1 stars
6/26/13 Alex M. Fucking awful, what a sht movie can't understand what they're saying. 1 stars
6/25/13 malcolm a true masterpiece 5 stars
9/13/12 Lily Great movie. The nudity/gore made it stand out. Loved the extra twist with Ross' character. 4 stars
8/13/12 Carol Baker A gorey remake. Time to move on to a original movie 3 stars
5/24/12 english department average 3 stars
3/28/11 elkins. oi if anyone in my class reads this. im using it on my essay, eat a dick kents! 1 stars
1/07/10 candy striper um the old naked ladies towards the end were completely DISTURBING!! WHAT THE FUCK 2 stars
7/30/08 eng bishops useless, stupid missed the nude scene!!! damn 1 stars
3/13/07 Mick Ex-Fan's comment (just below) may be the funniest user comment EVER! 5 stars
7/19/05 Ex-Fan The crapest piece of verbal fucken shit i have ever seen, the book is worth reading however 2 stars
12/19/04 Matt F. GREAT version of a great story, probably my favorite Shakespeare adaptation 5 stars
5/27/04 Katie LOVED the gory detail- made the play and the storyline in general more interesting! 5 stars
4/28/04 Ellie Great Play, Great Tragedy, Great Movie 4 stars
11/29/03 john maybe he best Shakespeare adaptation on film - feels completly real 5 stars
6/23/03 St.Deq Fine production ; spiritless acting 2 stars
3/13/03 Dalila Cortez This movie is really good. There is alot of suspence in it. John Finch was great too. 5 stars
3/12/03 Michelle :-) It was really bad! 1 stars
2/01/03 John Linton Roberson TITUS is WS's bloodiest play, but this is a brilliant film in a class by itself. 5 stars
1/08/03 stephen L I Hate the book but i like this because its ultra gory 5 stars
12/15/02 Charles Tatum The absolute best filmed Shakespeare 5 stars
9/26/02 Monster W. Kung Loses a little bit of steam in the end, but it's still worth watching more than one time. 4 stars
5/31/02 Angie It was horrible. 2 stars
1/23/02 Paul Stenett jr One of Shakespears finest recreated plays. 5 stars
11/21/01 Todd Excellent 4 stars
11/15/01 richard miller sucks 1 stars
6/21/01 Viola EXCELLENT!!!!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
5/22/01 Sarah Henderson I thought it was brilliantly done 5 stars
1/23/01 Renu Rattan It's one of those movies that I would wait until it came on tv and not renting it! 2 stars
1/09/01 Shay Pruitt This moie really sucked! 1 stars
12/12/00 krista very different, I found lady Macbeth to be quite different 5 stars
11/30/00 migena mbrice too bloody 1 stars
8/23/00 Noel Hernes It was frikken crap 1 stars
8/22/00 Preston Yasery fuck you 1 stars
5/13/00 Samuel Wong Bloody but Artistic 4 stars
5/09/00 Vik Randhawa what a stupid movie. I hated it and so did probably the rest of the students in class. 1 stars
5/04/00 little jerry Most underrated film in history.Polanski's greatest(Chinatown no.2).My film of the century. 5 stars
1/21/00 tango franko this movie rox the house every time i watch it i am aroused 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  13-Oct-1971 (R)
  DVD: 07-May-2002

UK
  02-Feb-1972 (15)

Australia
  13-Oct-1971 (M)




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