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.