Shakespeare update fails filmmaker's talent and scope of the Bard's masterwork


on June 15, 2007 by Shlomo Schwartzberg
Transposing William Shakespeare's 1606 Scottish play to the contemporary Melbourne criminal underworld makes sense as there are a few parallels between the medieval violent jockeying for royal favor and staying in the good graces of your local godfather. But the latest film from Australian filmmaker Geoffrey Wright ( Romper Stomper ) goes sadly awry, neither doing justice to the Bard's play nor to Wright's own inventive concept. In this version, Macbeth (Sam Worthington) is a promising, rising mobster well thought of by the confident Duncan (Gary Sweet), but, as in the play, his scheming wife (Victoria Hill) convinces him to murder his boss in the full expectation that he will more quickly ascend to the top. Of course, this being Shakespeare, it all ends bloodily. Wright has unnecessarily excised much of the play's dialogue, but what there is still falls uncomfortably from the modern cast's lips. He would have been better off updating the language as well as the setting. Instead, he proffers a Macbeth that's all flash and no substance.
Distributor: Truly Indie
Cast: Sam Worthington, Victoria Hill, Lachy Hulme and Gary Sweet
Director: Geoffrey Wright
Screenwriter: Geoffrey Wright and Victoria Hill
Producer: Martin Fabinyi
Genre: Drama
Rating: Unrated
Running time: 109 min.
Release date: June 15, 2007 Sea, June 29 SF, July 6 NY, July 13 Chi, July 27 LA, August 10 Austin
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