Macbeth Unhinged


Reviewed by: Robert Munro

Angus Macfadyen in Macbeth Unhinged
"The film is strongest when it is being visually and aurally adventurous."

Probably best known for playing Robert the Bruce in Braveheart, Angus MacFadyen writes, directs and stars in this innovative and challenging adaptation of Shakespeare's Macbeth. As with Braveheart, baronial Scottish ambition is to the fore in Macbeth Unhinged, yet the film's contemporary, anywhereville US setting, along with its experimental flair, ensure there's plenty to interest those familiar with the Bard's tale.

MacFadyen is Macbeth, and his vision of the tyrant is a familiar one - indeed the film follows the plot and dialogue of Macbeth fairly closely. Yet his Dunsinane is not a castle, but a stretch limousine within which his phobias multiply, until the film reaches the traditional bloody conclusion. Lady Macbeth is played by Taylor Roberts, and performs her manipulative role well.

The film's contemporary setting shift doesn't always wholly convince, although a nice red carpet type gala reception, in which Lady Macbeth woos the soon-to-be murdered Duncan, works well. The film is strongest when it is being visually and aurally adventurous, and it must be noted that the sound design adds a rather intriguing tone of black comedy to the proceedings. There are some nice touches in the editing too, with Lady Macbeth's face in close up superimposed semi-transparently over Macbeth as he torments himself over Duncan's murder.

The film feels less strong when it relies upon more straightforward theatricality, when Shakespeare's words are perhaps given too much reverence in dialogues between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. But given the likelihood of a small budget, the film is mostly a curious success, with some convincing prosthetics ensuring that the brutality of 'the Scottish play' is very much still present.

Reviewed on: 14 Jun 2016
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Modern interpretation of the tragedy, set within the confines of a stretch limousine.

Director: Angus Macfadyen

Writer: Angus Macfadyen, based on the play by William Shakespeare

Starring: Angus Macfadyen, Taylor Roberts, Kevin McNally, Harry Lennix, Seth Numrich, Samuel Roukin, Daven Ralston, Devin Druid, Olivia Maxwell, Hilary Montgomery, Greg Cooper, Justin Sease, Jonas Swenholt, Annabelle Bradstreet, Sheri Lahris

Year: 2016

Runtime: 89 minutes

Country: US


EIFF 2016

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