While I really like Shakespeare’s play Macbeth, and even though it is far from an easy read, I think that reading the book is a thousand times better than watching the movie “Macbeth”. Watching a movie is supposed to be an enjoyable experience. Watching “Macbeth”, not so much! It is rather a three hours long torture! Even though I think the dialogue in the movie remains pretty much the same as in Shakespeare’s original version, the setting itself has a very contemporary feel to it and it really ruins the play. In fact, when I started the movie, I almost thought I clicked on the wrong link. I thought I was about to watch a World War II movie.
The play was written in the 16th century! You can’t simply fast forward five centuries, make characters look like Nazis, play Russian music and keep Shakespeare’s dialogue. The filmed version of Macbeth is rather a cheap, poorly made horror movie. Too much blood everywhere. The three witches that appear in the book are almost fun characters unlike the three nurses or maids that take on their roles in the movie. The witches in the movie are extremely eerie. Let me mention the opening scene where the three of them are disguised as nurses ‘helping’ a wounded soldier. One of them pulls his heart out! Eww! Later on, I noticed they appear in certain scenes where Shakespeare doesn’t mention them. They also make a surprise appearance at dinner held by Macbeth dressed as maids. The most hideous movie scene is probably the night of the banquet when the guests dance to a Russian song, and whoever ends up without a partner has to dance with a mop. There are some other discrepancies between the book and the movie, such as Banquo riding a horse in the night of his murder, versus Banquo and his son traveling by train in the movie. Or at least what appears to be the train to me! I really could not suffer another three hours just to make sure whether it is the train! J Also, the queen in the book walks around carrying a candle, while she uses a flashlight in the movie. Along the same lines, I think the use of guns in the movie does not match the weapons described in the book.
While I generally find filmed versions of the books bleak, the movie Macbeth probably tops them all. It’s nowhere near my expectations. I am definitely sticking to the book! J