“What’s done cannot be undone,” A24’s, ‘The Tragedy of Macbeth’ is a Waste of 2 Hours

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‘The Tragedy of Macbeth’ official movie poster.

Sam Becker, Staff Writer

The Tragedy of Macbeth, produced by A24, is a 2022 adaptation of Shakespeare’s classic of the same name. The film’s fully black and white presentation is the first thing that draws the viewer’s attention, and it is highly symbolic of the film as a whole. There are a variety of reasons why a modern picture is shown in black and white; nevertheless, this film’s adoption of the style is most likely due to A24’s reputation for presenting exquisite, almost “noir” films. The aesthetic is a microcosm of the film itself: it’s too polished only to suit the “noir” label.

The story hardly deviates from the classic Shakespearean tale, as it would be difficult to change such an enduring classic. Macbeth learns that he is fated to become King through a prophecy foretold by several witches (the weird sisters). Subsequently, he is compelled by his wife, Lady Macbeth, to fulfill this prophecy, regardless of what it takes. Macbeth takes this advice to heart, murdering the current king, his best friend, and anyone in his path. The rest of the story follows his internal and external struggles to amend or reconcile his sins. The story still holds up, as most Shakespeare tends to do. However, the film runs into issues because the entirety of the film is captured at an extremely tedious pace. Dialogue is dragged out for dramatic effect as the actors constantly appear to be mimicking the classic style, rather than truly embodying it, as Shakespearean actors of the past have been able to do.

Denzel Washington and France McDormand highlighted the star-studded cast, playing the roles of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. The two stars played the roles brilliantly, serving as two of the few bright spots of the film. In particular, Washington’s delivery of the infamous line: “My name’s Macbeth,” served as a powerful anecdote of the legendary tale. The specific line gave the movie a distinctly compelling feeling for a moment or two. However, such moments were, unfortunately, few and far between, as Macbeth generally falls short of the lofty expectations set up by the classic Shakespearean tragedy.