The verdict is in and the consensus is that Joel Coen’s The Tragedy of Macbeth is stellar, according to Rotten Tomatoes. Denzel Washington’s latest turn in a Shakespearian adaptation boasts an impressive 100% score on the review aggregate site, with critics lauding the performances of Washington’s titular character and the conniving Lady Macbeth, played by Francis McDormand.
The film takes on a stripped down approach to the classic story, mostly preserving its iambic pentameter-laden dialogue and reducing its visuals to simplistic, modern black and white photography in a tall 1.37:1 aspect ratio.
The film co-stars Corey Hawkins as Macduff, Brendan Gleeson as King Duncan and Kathryn Hunter as the witches.
Critics are hailing Coen’s take as breathing new life into the half-a-millennium-old story, its dream-like cinematography and McDormand’s turn as Lady Macbeth as being up there as one of her very best performances to date, a tall order for a three-time Academy Award winner, indeed.
Washington isn’t far behind McDormand’s track record either, having garnered two Academy Awards in his career. And critics are also hailing Washington’s nuanced take on the darkly fated character, pointing out that the chemistry between the two actors runs the gamut of epic emotions you would expect from a Shakespeare play.
This isn’t the first time Washington has been in one of the famous bard’s film adaptations, either, having played Don Pedro in Kenneth Branagh’s 1993 take of Much Ado About Nothing. Though Branagh also co-directed and starred in a theatrical adaption of Macbeth, back in 2013, which was broadcast to cinemas, critics are mostly saying that version pales in comparison to this new interpretation.
The new reviews come on the heels of the film’s premiere at the 2021 New York Film Festival on September 24 and represents Joel’s first directorial debut without his brother Ethan Coen.
The Tragedy of Macbeth will have a limited theatrical release on December 25 2021 by A24 and then it will hit streaming on Apple TV+ on January 14, 2022.