Take a Drink: for ghosts
Take a Drink: for witches
Take a Drink: for major character deaths
Take a Drink: for postcard-ready shots
Do a Shot: for any lines you can spout before the character does.
By: Henry J. Fromage (Two Beers) –
Michael Fassbender, Marion Cotillard, and Justin Kurzel are quickly forming a superteam, all following up their arthouse Shakespeare adaptation with a video game movie- Assassin’s Creed. Don’t look for this to become a trend.
Although if it does, a Leo/Tom Skyrim movie isn’t too unimaginable.
Plotwise, Kurzel & Co. stick to the classic Macbeth story- the childless (in this version, tragically) Lord & Lady Macbeth rise and fall from Kingly heights just as prophesied by three witchy women.
The opening scene, a dirt and blood-stained battle rendered in primary color filters and some of the most muscular use of slow-motion I’ve seen clearly shows the method behind the Assassin’s Creed madness.
Yeah, I could watch 120 minutes of this.
However, this is far from a popcorned up multiplex action retelling of this classic of literature. Per the pedigree that Kurzel, Fassbender, and Cotillard bring to the production, this Macbeth is both more humane and more insane, displaying a great deal more tenderness and brutality than typical tellings of the tale. This is a Macbeth that is interested in the Lord (Fassbender) and Lady (Cotillard), your Banquo (Paddy Considine) and Duncan (David Thelwis) and Malcolm (Jack Reynor), are living and breathing people and not fundamental English canon literary characters.
Fassbender and Cotillard are riveting, however, displaying incredible chemistry and a relatability that makes their madness all the more tragic. Never has Lady Macbeth been so nakedly vulnerable beneath her icy conniving exterior, and teeth-grinding madness has become a Fassbender forte.
Every element of the production design supports the gritty vérité nature of the script and performances. Hot on the rise cinematographer Adam Arkapaw (True Detective) shoots some incredible imagery, going hogwild with filters in a way that enhances the emotion of the film and yields truly stunning results in the spectacular Scottish highlands and castles its set in. Costuming, makeup, even Justin Kurzel’s ambient, string-filled folk score- it’s all incredibly on point. Why this didn’t garner more awards or even just critical attention is truly beyond me.
Some of the acting is overly theatrical, like a few of the actors didn’t realize you don’t have to shout Shakespeare to the rafters if you’re outside. Also, you might want subtitles- original recipe Shakespeare in heavy Scottish accents has to be about as comprehensible as Spanish to your average American at least.
“Och, garufflepuff aye haggishnay”
Macbeth is a visceral, searing take on a much-adopted classic tale. Assassin’s Creed is going to be awesome.