‘The Tragedy Of Macbeth’: Something Wicked This Way Comes For Denzel Washington And Frances McDormand

Denzel Washington. Frances McDormand. Joel Coen. Doing Shakespeare. They don’t get more Oscar-ready than The Tragedy of Macbeth, and with the anticipated film set to have its world premiere at NYFF this week, A24 and Apple are delivering a brief look the classic tale of murder and ambition.

Joining Washington and McDormand in the cast are Corey Hawkins, Moses Ingram, Brendan Gleeson, Henry Melling, Ralph Ineson, Sean Patrick Thomas, Kathryn Hunter, Alex Hassell, Stephen Root, and Bertie Carvel, with a score by Carter Burwell. Coen, who is directing for the first time without his brother Ethan, also wrote the screenplay.

SYNOPSIS: A work of stark chiaroscuro and incantatory rage, Joel Coen’s boldly inventive visualization of The Scottish Play is an anguished film that stares, mouth agape, at a sorrowful world undone by blind greed and thoughtless ambition. In meticulously world-weary performances, a strikingly inward Denzel Washington is the man who would be king and an effortlessly Machiavellian Frances McDormand is his Lady, a couple driven to political assassination—and deranged by guilt—after the cunning prognostications of a trio of “weird sisters” (a virtuoso physical inhabitation by Kathryn Hunter). Though it echoes the forbidding visual designs—and aspect ratios—of Laurence Olivier’s classic 1940s Shakespeare adaptations, as well as the bloody medieval madness of Kurosawa’s Throne of Blood, Coen’s tale of sound and fury is entirely his own—and undoubtedly one for our moment, a frightening depiction of amoral political power-grabbing that, like its hero, ruthlessly barrels ahead into the inferno.

The Tragedy of Macbeth will follow NYFF with an appearance at London Film Festival. It will then hit theaters on Christmas Day, followed by Apple TV+ on January 14th 2022.

Travis Hopson has been reviewing movies before he even knew there was such a thing. Having grown up on a combination of bad '80s movies, pro wrestling, comic books, and hip-hop, Travis is uniquely positioned to geek out on just about everything under the sun. A vampire who walks during the day and refuses to sleep, Travis is the co-creator and lead writer for Punch Drunk Critics. He is also a contributor to Good Morning Washington, WBAL Morning News, and WETA Around Town. In the five minutes a day he's not working, Travis is also a voice actor, podcaster, and Twitch gamer. Travis is a voting member of the Critics Choice Association (CCA), Washington DC Area Film Critics Association (WAFCA), and Late Night programmer for the Lakefront Film Festival.