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28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best modern Macbeth ever!
I'm not saying forget about other versions e.g. Polanski etc. but when it comes to a modern interpretation which the bard might have liked, this is the real McCoy. Haunting performances by Pat Stewart and Kate Fleetwod, a gripping storyline that gives enough room for the beautiful dialogues we've heard so often, breathtaking setting and effects. This is, as the Guardian...
Published on 31 May 2012 by Toby

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14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars No subtitles
An excellent production, let down by a DVD release company who seem to think that including subtitles on their releases is beneath them.
Published on 21 Jan 2012 by Richard Augood


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28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best modern Macbeth ever!, 31 May 2012
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This review is from: Macbeth [DVD] (DVD)
I'm not saying forget about other versions e.g. Polanski etc. but when it comes to a modern interpretation which the bard might have liked, this is the real McCoy. Haunting performances by Pat Stewart and Kate Fleetwod, a gripping storyline that gives enough room for the beautiful dialogues we've heard so often, breathtaking setting and effects. This is, as the Guardian put it, a superb film made from a superb production.
By the way...I watch this one with my English classes on regular basis before I read the play, and it has always done a great job making my pupils want to know more.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An apparition? No. The real thing., 29 Nov 2012
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This review is from: Macbeth [DVD] (DVD)
I bought this product as a teaching aid to show to my students and subsequently ended up showing it at a dinner party to my closest and dearest friends. This production of Macbeth really does breathe new life into the story. Think you know the story?... Macbeth kills the King, becomes King and dies? Think again. Yes, I grant that is the basis of the narrative but you've never seen it quite like this.
Patrick Stewart is peerless playing this tyrant and I think that Rupert Goold does a superb job of making this soul-less, murdering, maiming machiavellian character appear as tormented and quite put upon by his lady-wife while, concurrently, making Lady Macbeth seem like a woman who's been pushed to the edge of sanity in supporting Regicide. I can't tell who I sympathise with more. So many of the immortal Elizabethan language lines are delivered in such original ways which make this film a timeless masterpiece. There is a simply magnificent scene when Baqnuo's ghost appears while the character of Ross is dancing on the dining table and utter farcicality ensues.
MacDuff is precisely as one envisages him in their mind's eye: tough, uncompromising and totally unafraid to do what is necessary.

My favourite moment: The part which encompasses my inability to decide on whom I most pity. Patrick Stewart's "Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow creeps in this petty pace from day to day" really tugs at the heartstrings and makes the final scenes of the play, even though we know what happens, so much more watchable. Macbeth's final lines with "lay on, MacDuff, and damn'd be he that first cries hold... enough" is also, quite possibly, the best I've ever seen it done.

If you are a Shakespeare fan, a Patrick Stewart fan or just a story fanatic; watch this play. I have yet to see anything in the last ten years (McKellen's 'Lear' aside) which betters it...

A grateful English teacher.

P.S. If you want to know how good it is, I had a group of GCSE re-sit PE boys open mouthed during 'Banquo's ghost's scene'. If that don't prove it, nothing will!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Intelligent, sustained if somewhat esoteric interpretation of 'Macbeth', 14 Dec 2012
This review is from: Macbeth [DVD] (DVD)
This film adaptation is faithful to the Shakespeare text, and has an excellent cast, committed to an expressive and thoughtful interpretation of their parts. The setting of the play in some mid-European war-torn state in the mid C20 works well, although the typically depressed colour in which it is shot becomes wearing after a time. There are a number of genuinely interesting and successful ideas, including the presentation of the witches as military nurses.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a stupendous watch!, 21 May 2013
By 
L. S. Robinson "I, Pandora" (Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Macbeth [DVD] (DVD)
Riveted to the kitchen TV and mesmerised, my washing up stayed undone tonight because I couldn't take my eyes off Patrick Stewart and the cast as they crashed, hacked, slaughtered and thundered their way through this wonderful production of Macbeth the megalomaniac. What a treat!
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28 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Probably the best screen performance of Macbeth, 15 Aug 2011
This review is from: Macbeth [DVD] (DVD)
I've seen most of the film versions of Macbeth, and for me, this is the best. To mention just a few of the most popular: the Orson Welles version is interesting, but very, very dated; the Polanski slow and flawed; the Jason Connery awful. The Ian McKellan/Judi Dench one is an interesting depiction of the Macbeths' relationship, but it's so slow, and because it's a filmed version of a stage performance, the setting gets in the way - it's so dark! Throne of Blood is a masterpiece, but you can't show it to 15 year olds and expect a sensible response!
So, to the Patrick Stewart film. It's dynamic, pacey and engrossing. In fact, in places it's quite scary, which Macbeth ought to be. It's very well realised, and although it's based on a stage performance, the setting is brilliantly exploited. I love the witches, who from the outset are very, very disturbing, and a little bit sexy. Stewart himself is a bit self-indulgent, but he's believable, and that's the main thing that mars all the others mentioned above.
If you're going to buy a dvd of Macbeth, buy this one.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Back in the USSR, 16 Mar 2014
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This review is from: Macbeth [DVD] (DVD)
Having missed the West End run of this, I'm delighted that it's now on DVD, and that they've done such a superb job of it. Welbeck Abbey is such a fine location - it looks like a Soviet nightmare, and I want to go there.

This is not a place for an in-depth critique of the text, save to note that its quality is inconsistent, and that the Scottish ruling cadre that it presents is ill-defined. As with Dickens, a director really has to trim, to adapt, just as much as Hemming and Condell compounded. There's no suggestion in the text that Ross is the anonymmous 'Lord' of Act3 Sc6, nor that Lennox is torturing him, for instance, and in the text the first lines are those of the witches, while this version starts with the 'bloody man', who delivers his speeches before one witch injects him full of death, and 'Where shall we three meet again?' comes over him flatlining - it makes for a shocking start.

The production has no reserve in getting its hands not just dirty, but gory to the armpits; Fleance may escape the train on which Banquo is liquidated, but the ensuing purge takes many others. Macbeth's portrait, very much in the manner of Stalin, dominates the banquet which, it is quite clear, the diners only care about leaving alive. The fear of Macbeth is palpable, and when Angus makes to light up, Macbeth takes and crumples the cigarette, sprinkling the tobacco over his head. Angus does not dare brush it off. The 'musical mop' dance - where the odd one out has to dance with the mop - has a horrrifc subtext of 'which of us ends up getting tortured?' It's Ross.

Seyton, the old man and the porter all get merged into one person - Christopher Patrick Nolan - and he plays it very well - sinister and campy - though I'd prefer them as three different people. Paul Shelley provides a suitably imperial Duncan, though I'd have liked to hear the martlet line when he arrived in the game-strewn kitchens of Glamis - 'Martlet for dinner! I love Martlet!'

The exhaustive testing scene in the middle of the second half is played pretty much entire - it's often cited (with some reason) as the dullest scene in the canon - someone we don't care about swears truth out of Scotland in both directions, and at the end of it he's still just as much a rectum as he was at the start; the scene is, and always has been, padding, and it lifts considerably when Ross comes in (I do like Ross in this - Tim Treloar) and Michael Feast does a nice line in revenge-lust as Macduff.

The final battle scenes look like WW2 Eastern Front newsreel - all Buddlea, cordite and confusion, with Mac the only one still in focus.

Patrick Stewart is superb as Macbeth - an ordinary soldier infected with and destroyed by kingship - he seems just about to start to enjoy being king in the scene where he and his wife are majestically sitting on horseback, but no - he's planning the murder of his friend Banquo, so he's not happy at all. He clings to power, terrified of losing it, as it destroys him cell by cell, like a desease. This is a very finely played performance of a man turned into a monster by his own ambition, and all too aware of the humanity he has lost.

And Kate Fleetwood is brilliant as Mrs Mac; running from termagent to murdress to nervous wreck to madness. All steely, hooded-eyed, sexual menace at the start, then desperate to save her man from insanity at the banquet (Banquo is on the table, which would upset him), then sonambulic nightmare and washing her hands with bleach in a telly-shouting scene of 'For goodness sake! There's taps right in front of you - get those hands under running water now!

The witches are murdrous nurses dispensing death, whose silent appearences punctuate Macbeth's bloody career. They are incredibly sinister - none of the pointy hats and cats and hooked noses - just cold, malign, destructive nastiness - the poison in the body politic (and they're nurses - who'd suspect them?) Fortunately Hecate is absent.

To lose 'Were I from Dunsinane away and clear/ Profit again should hardly draw me here' is the unkindest cut of all, however - it's the only really funny line in the play.
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28 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Something wicked, 25 Aug 2011
By 
E. A Solinas "ea_solinas" (MD USA) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Macbeth [DVD] (DVD)
Patrick Stewart is one of the few great Shakespearean actors alive today -- you could give this guy any role, and he would enthrall you. So he seems like an obvious choice for the title role of Shakespeare's legendary play "Macbeth." This 2010 adaptation is a dark, industrial, grimy affair, with plenty of blood and eerie effects.

Shortly after a victory in battle, Macbeth (Stewart) and his friend Banquo (Martin Turner) are traveling home across a heath when they encounter three witches dresses as nurses. They greet him with "All hail, Macbeth! hail to thee, Thane of Cawdor! All hail, Macbeth! that shalt be king hereafter!"

When MacBeth is made Thane of Cawdor, he naturally begins to think that being king might be next in line. And when King Duncan (Paul Shelley) visits his castle, Lady MacBeth (Suzanne Burden) goads her husband into murdering the king and framing a couple of innocent servants for the deed. As the witches predicted, MacBeth becomes king of Scotland.

But the witches also prophesied that Banquo would be the father of kings, so MacBeth starts tying off loose ends by hiring assassins to kill Banquo and his young son, as well as a wily thane named MacDuff and all of his family. But though MacBeth believes himself to be safe from everyone, his fear begins to grow as madness and guilt torment him and his wife.

One of the most fascinating things about "Macbeth" is how evil it is -- mass murder, insanity, bloody ghosts, a trio of manipulative witches, and a weak man who becomes a raving murderous paranoiac. First-time director Rupert Goold seizes on all the blood, darkness and horror of the story, and splashes it all over this adaptation.

Seriously. This is VERY gory and violent: severed heads, ripped-out hearts, and dead bodies all over the place. The only place where Goold holds back is when Macduff's children are killed -- instead he conveys their deaths in a chilling but less graphic way.

The setting is very effective as well -- lots of industrial grime, shadowy rooms, and vast echoing halls with blasts of pale light. Additionally, there are some incredibly weird moments that make the story even more eerie, such as the three witches jerking and spasming through a room filled with dead bodies, or Banquo walking silently over MacBeth's table.

Goold's one drawback is that sometimes the actors get kind of... over-the-top. But Stewart is an absolute joy to play -- he gives a beautifully understated performance that taps into all Macbeth's weakness, greed, fear and madness. Just look at the odd scene where everybody starts dancing -- Stewart's energetic jumps are tinged with desperation, like he's frantically trying to look cheerful.

Burden makes an excellent Lady M., although she seems a bit young for Stewart -- her stark white face and grasping hands make her really look the part, and she has a jittery, hungry energy. and there are solid performances by Michael Feast, Scott Handy, and those women who play the witches.

Patrick Stewart is the heart of 2010's "Macbeth," but this adaptation also has lots of chilling, nightmarish freakiness all on its own. Just don't watch it around small children.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful production of Macbeth, 6 Aug 2011
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This review is from: Macbeth [DVD] (DVD)
This is a splendidly produced, marvellously acted version of a well known play. I don't usually like "modernised" versions of Shakespeare, but on this occasion it is most effective, providing an ominous atmosphere, a mixture of human strength and frailty and, as ever, plenty of action. The witches are particularly awesome.
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14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars No subtitles, 21 Jan 2012
This review is from: Macbeth [DVD] (DVD)
An excellent production, let down by a DVD release company who seem to think that including subtitles on their releases is beneath them.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Some scenes scary for younger teens., 27 July 2014
By 
bookworm8 "bookworm8" (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Macbeth [DVD] (DVD)
An interesting production, bought to use with students, but decided not to as the 'nurse' scenes are rather scary for students who spend a lot of time in hospital!
I enjoyed it and have no complaints, but on viewing the whole thing, it was not appropriate for the intended purpose.

It arrived promptly, well-packed, worked well - no problems.
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Macbeth [DVD] by Rupert Goold (DVD - 2011)
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