The latest spin on Shakespeare’s bloody tragedy Macbeth, starring Michael Fassbender and Marion Coltillard, opened to rave reviews at Cannes on Saturday.
Two clips were also released, and they give a good sense of the moody, dark atmosphere of the film.
Macbeth, the story of a beloved warrior’s journey into homicide, madness, and ruin, was directed by Australian director Justin Kurzel, who had a fresh take on the motivations of the main character. He figures Macbeth’s actions stem directly from a very bad case of post traumatic stress disorder. In a press conference at Cannes, Fassbender commented on how clear that idea became to him after he’d had a chance to think about it.
“Never did It occur to me before this that [Macbeth] was suffering from PTSD. You have a soldier who’s engaged in battle month-after-month, day-after-day. Killing with his hands. Pushing a sword through muscle and bone. And if that doesn’t work picking up a rocks and using that.”
The stress disorder is the lens through which Macbeth sees the world but, according to Kurzel, it’s not what the film is about or what ultimately drives the Macbeth to do the horrible things he does. The opening scene of the film shows the couple burying a child. This is what the director wanted to wrestle with.
“How you replace something you’ve lost. I’ve experienced that in my own life. I was very interested in how desperate you can be to fill a hole left by grief.”
There is an argument to be made that every story essentially deals with the false ways we try to fill the holes that living a life creates in the soul; but grief, especially the loss of a child, has to be the deepest and the darkest.
Marion Cotillard, who plays Lady Macbeth, talked about her take on the character at the same press conference.
“[Lady Macbeth] grapples with her fears and that turns her into a bit of a monster. There’s a lot of love between [Macbeth and Lady Macbeth] but they’re just too damaged to allow anything luminous.”
Macbeth is a story that’s been done many times, on stage and screen but longtime fans may be interested to see what the combination of Kurzel’s exploration of the destructive power of grief and Fassbender’s intensity gives Macbeth.
And if you like Michael Fassbender, and why wouldn’t you — he’s a chameleon who can play a successful businessman addicted to sex, a mutant leader in X-Men, iconic Apple leader, Steve Jobs, or a classic Shakespeare character. You’ll have plenty of chances to see him this year. He’s got five films coming out — Slow West, Macbeth, Trespass Against Us, The Light Between Oceans, and Steve Jobs — giving you plenty of chances to see him.