Five Films That Prove Shakespeare's 'Macbeth' Is a Universal Tale
Published May 25, 2018Promotional consideration provided by Cineplex.
Since it debuted in 1606, William Shakespeare's tragic play Macbeth has remained one of the most beloved and enduring fictional works of all time. Its plot, which demonstrates the absolute corruption that comes with unchecked political ambition, will likely always be considered timely.
As such, Cineplex is presenting a screening of the National Theatre's performance of Macbeth on June 16. Of course, a London-based company showcasing their work across Canada is a decidedly international move, and it makes perfect sense — Macbeth is a truly international work.
Don't believe us? Here are five films that demonstrate just how well this story crosses multicultural divides.
Throne of Blood (1957)
Smack dab in the middle of his illustrious and highly influential career, Akira Kurosawa reimagined Macbeth as a violent action movie set in feudal Japan. Even in the early '60s, critics debated whether or not it was a true Shakespeare adaptation by side-stepping the Bard's prose, but it's now considered one of the best reimagining of all time.
Scotland, PA (2001)
Half-a-century later, the same storyline was transported to a fast food restaurant in 1975 Pennsylvania. Scotland, PA is a decidedly obscure comedy from Billy Morrissette, but it features a whose who of early 2000s players, including Maura Tierney, Amy Smart, Andy Dick and Christopher Walken.
Further proving its adaptability, the play was transformed into a Bollywood crime tragedy. Directed by Vishal Bhardwaj, the film used Mumbai's criminal underworld as its backdrop. Maqbool premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2003 and helped cement Irrfan Khan (Slumdog Millionaire, Jurassic World, Inferno) as a superstar actor.
Some three years after Maqpool debuted at TIFF, the fest delivered another entirely different take with Geoffrey Wright's Macbeth. The director, best known for the Russell Crowe breakthrough Romper Stomper, took his own crack at a Romeo + Juliet-style modernization of the film, offering plenty of violence, gratuitous nudity and Australian accents.
That said, if you're looking for a film adaptation to warm up your Shakespeare muscles, you can't go wrong with Justin Kurzel's 2015 version. Starring Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard, the critically acclaimed and commercially unsuccessful flick is full of moody, atmospheric shots and dark, epic dialogue.