Fassbender is ferocious as the Scottish king driven to dark crimes by his wife’s murderous ambition, in this stunning Shakespeare adaptation. Justin Kurzel, director of the uncompromising Australian crime drama Snowtown, follows fearlessly in the footsteps of such hallowed names as Orson Welles, Akira Kurosawa and Roman Polanski in tackling the Scottish tragedy. But he more than holds his own with a distinctive take that will resonate with modern audiences
With its, visceral battle sequences, bloody murders and ‘Scope widescreen compositions, this is Shakespeare at its most cinematic. And by boldly stripping back the Shakespearean dialogue to its core, redirecting soliloquys and cleverly reinterpreting key scenes, Kurzel crafts a film that feels fresh despite the weight of prior adaptations.
Of the film, Robbie Collin of the Telegraph memorably acclaimed its “cosmically powerful” central performances by Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard and pertinently asked “is this as good as Shakespeare on film gets?”