William Shakespeare, directed by Joel Coen and starring Denzel Washington? So, of course, this leads to the age-old Shakespeare question – to be or not to be? The Tragedy of Macbeth is to be absolutely a must-watch.  

The Best Version Of Shakespeare’s Macbeth.  

When it comes to Shakespeare films, you could go in many directions with an adaptation. You have a faithful version like Kenneth Branagh’s Much Ado About Nothing, which also costars Denzel Washington (Training Day). There is also the out-of-the-box adaptation like Baz Luhrmann’s acclaimed Romeo + Juliet that shot Claire Danes (Homeland) and Leonardo DiCaprio (Wolf of Wall Street) to fame. Luhrmann’s film also has a soundtrack that still rocks. There are also modern guilty pleasure versions like 10 Things I Hate About You, based on Taming of the Shrew. Or even, She’s the Man, which is loosely based on Twelfth Night.

As you can see, when it comes to Shakespeare, you can adapt the source in so many ways and still entertain. The Tragedy of Macbeth is easily the best adaptation of this story. The film stars Oscar winner Denzel Washington. Coen is more faithful to the source material while also adding a modern filmmaking approach. This film succeeds in places where Michael Fassbender’s (X-men: First Class) 2015 version came up short in expressing the impact of Shakespeare. Director Joel Coen decides to keep the small-scale intimacy of the stage while expanding it when needed to give the Shakespearean atmosphere a beautiful cinematic expansion. Coen’s approach prevents any sense of this could have been just one step up from taping a stage production.  


I watched The Tragedy of Macbeth and loved it long before the Oscar nominations were announced. So, when the nominations were announced, I was surprised by how little love the film received. However, I knew Washington would get a nomination for his performance, and the cinematography would be recognized.

Watching Washington’s performance will blow you away. His interpretation is a masterclass in acting. The language and cadence of Shakespeare and the setting of historic Scotland do not derail him in any way. Washington’s performance is powerful, and director Coen’s use of closeups keeps you captivated.

Is The Tragedy of Macbeth Accessible Shakespearean Storytelling For A Wider Audience?

The filmmakers and actors make sure that Shakespeare’s words and world are as engaging as they are meant to be. I don’t see this as a story that will put even the least of Shakespeare fans to a slumber.  I believe Macbeth is one of Shakespeare’s greatest characters. In this film, he is played by one of the greatest actors who gives one of his best performances. Watch and be bewitched by the words of William Shakespeare

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