We round up the reviews for Joel Cohen’s new film, set to be released in cinemas on the 26th December and through Apple TV+ on the 14th January.

The Guardian: ***** “With Shakespeare’s text cut right back, it’s a version that brings us back to the language by framing the drama in theatrical, stylised ways: an agoraphobic ordeal in which bodies and faces loom up with tin-tack sharpness out of the creamy-white fog.”

Empire: ***** “Stark but utterly compelling, this chilling take on Macbeth is a visually stunning tour de force. It’s as good as you’d expect from this cast and crew, which is saying something.”

Evening Standard: ***** “By choosing Washington and McDormand as his leads, Coen puts a fresh spin on familiar phrases. The couple are convinced they’re fecund, becoming jittery with excitement at the thought of the male children Lady Macbeth might one day bear. In that we can see the grey in Macbeth’s stubble, as well as the lines on his wife’s face, it’s obvious the pair are delusional, which is disarming, as well as unsettling. In a world dominated by dynasties, the couple qualify as underdogs. They’re playing a game they simply can’t win.”

The Telegraph: ***** “Joel Coen’s first film without his brother is as weird as a waking dream, Frances McDormand’s Lady Macbeth a match for her fellow star.”

Variety: “Coen very much approaches the material as the visual obsessive he is. The diaphanous white fog, the cawing black birds, the witch who looks like a depraved Joan of Arc — it all has the entranced clarity of a nightmare. The surprise, at least to me (and I say this as a true believer in the Coen brothers’ aesthetic, even though I only like about half their films), is how sensual and ingenious and expressive and enveloping the film’s images are.”

Hollywood Reporter: “A first-rate cast and stunning craftsmanship bring surging vitality to Shakespeare’s political thriller about an ambitious couple whose murderous power grab sends them spiraling into madness.”

The Upcoming: ***** “For Joel Coen, The Tragedy of Macbeth is a rare solo effort that is truly worth its weight in gold.”

The Wrap: “Stacked with great performances, anchored by Denzel Washington’s masterfully weary soldier-turned-murderer Macbeth and Frances McDormand as his hard-edged conspirator-turned-madwoman of a spouse, and starkly rendered in expressionistic black and white, Coen’s version of one of the most oft-quoted of Shakespeare’s works is a bracingly textured cinematic plunge into some classically dark waters.”

Vulture.com: “The film finds something — an essence, let’s say — though it also feels intractably like an exercise, a chance for its blue-chip talent to flex muscles they haven’t had a chance to use for a while, more than it does a complete work unto itself.”


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