Macbeth Review

Image for Macbeth

Murder, intrigue, conspiracy and betrayal in the bard's famous Scottish play.


With all its murders, intrigue, conspiracy and betrayal, not forgetting the sorcery behind the action, Shakespeare's Scottish play should be massively cinema-friendly. And having seen the achievements of Branagh's Hamlet and Luhrman's Romeo And Juliet, one might justifiably assume that Freeston's Macbeth - albeit with a much smaller budget - would attempt to lean on a few boundaries, if not push them out a bit.

So what do we get? Connery sports tangled locks and a ginger beard to play the army general who murders King Duncan in order to fulfil the witches' prophecy that he shall become king, and then slaughters a few more in an attempt to foil the rest of the prediction.

At his most convincing when wielding his sword and shouting at peasants, Connery spends much of his time creeping around in the dark, chewing his lip or grinding his teeth to indicate that he is "thinking" another of the many mumbled voiceovers Freeston tends to use rather than ask anyone to act.

Baxendale has much more fun as the manipulative Lady M., with nothing but her husband's career progression to think about. Initially veering from saucy minx to nagging shrew, she soon loses interest and drifts through even her "mad" scene in a dream.

Hopes for some enthusiasm, a few good effects or even funny make-up in the bubbling cauldron scenes are also dashed, as the three witches do little other than giggle lightly and fade away; in fact, the only moments when there is any life at all is during the bloody battle scenes when heads are stuck firmly on stakes. Sadly, Connery's isn't one of them.

A cross between a 1970s schools programme and a Scottish Tourist Board video. This is indeed a tragic Macbeth.