Modelltexte

Comment on Macbeth (2015) directed by Justin Kurzel

All that glitters, isn’t gold. This is an advice you would want to give to Macbeth while watching the film. Because as you already get to know in the beginning, the idea of becoming king allures him to do some mistakes which in the end lead to his and his wife’s death.

In my opinion, Justin Kurzel’s modern adaptation and interpretation of William Shakespeare’s tragedy is well implemented.
Even if he re- interpreted and added some aspects, the original atmosphere and story line is clear and the audience can experience the tragic story of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth, which is set in the Middle-Ages Scotland.
The only aspect that Kurzel changed that I think  is negative, is Fleance. After his father’s, Banquo’s, death Fleance flees and disappears until the very end of the film. His intention of coming back is to take revenge for his father’s murder. Because of the aspect that Kurzel cut short this quite important character, it is more difficult to really understand the final scenes of his film version.
However, a positive aspect of Justin Kurzel’s version is the fact that he added the death of Macbeth’s child in the very first scene. In my opinion, this somehow explains Macbeth’s and his wife’s condition and brings a bit more clarity. Because this incident contributes to their bad decisions and is kind of the trigger of Lady Macbeth becoming “cold- hearted” and making her husband kill the king.
While talking about Macbeth and Lady Macbeth, you can say that Michael Fassbender’s and Marion Cotillard’s rendition of the royal couple is also well implemented.
Macbeth’s ambition to become king and kill Duncan and his wife’s support are well shown. Lady Macbeth’s regrets and her bad and depressive condition that ends up with her suicide, are very well acted, as well as Macbeth’s conditon that keeps on getting worse. The two actors and the director bring these feelings and emotions close to the audience, supported by the already mentioned death of their child in the beginning.
All in all, you can say that the camera work, the actor’s performance and the added aspects create a great modern interpretation and film version of Macbeth.
I think, the film is worth viewing, even if the language may cause a little problem of understandment, because you get a great view on what a person can get through and what he is able to do to get what he wants.

by Hannah Emanuelsson 

Can a play that was written around 1606 still be interesting for an audience nowadays?
Macbeth. Not a lot of people would imagine an exciting movie directed in 2015 including performances of Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard when they hear the name of this drama. The majority would imagine a boring, old-fashioned movie with not a lot of action in it.
But things are different in this adaption of Macbeth.
Eventhough Justin Kruzel (director) cut the original story, you can easily follow the storyline without having open questions.
The only scene in which you could think it’s sad that some scenes were cut is Lady Macbeth’s suicide. You could easily think Lady Macbeth did not commit suicide, because after her sleepwalking scene you see her in her dead in bed and you never know how excatly she died. But you can still understand what happened without knowing that she was going to die before watching the movie.
The cast in general is very well chosen and after seeing this adaption if Macbeth you can imagine no one acting the role of Macbeth better than Michael Fassbender. He shows the inner conflicts leading to a post-traumatic stress disorder after his wife’s death very impressively. Impressive is also Marion Cotillard in the role of Lady Macbeth. From a ruthless, unscrupulous (What’s done cannot be undone) to an insane and pitiable and finally suicidal Queen.
One negative thing about the cast is the external similarity of the actors of Macbeth and Banquo because you can easily mistake them at the beginning of the movie, but after Macbeth is crowned king it’s easy to tell who’s who.
Without knowing the story was cut, I wouldn’t have noticed it and eventhough Kruzel used Shakespeare’s words the story is easy to understand and you can follow the movie without difficulties and it still has a very catching end.
And to answer the question: Yes, a 411 yeard old play can still be interpretated exciting for the audience in the 21st century. To quote the film critic Robbie Collin the Macbeth adaption by Justin Kruzel “gets in your bloodstream.”
by Jackie Bickerich 

Bloody with a chance of ruling – that is what the weather forecast for Justin Kurzel´s movie adaptation of William Shakespeare´s famous play „Macbeth“ would probably look like. Extensively praised by the media and nominated for the „Golden Palm“ at Cannes Film Festival this Movie is seemingly the best Macbeth adaptation ever made. In the following we will see wether the film can fulfil these demands.

One of the movies most striking aspects is the dark atmosphere it conveys. Wide and impressive landscapes, a dark and blue coloring that absolutely forces the audience to get lost in the events and weather phenomenons which are so perfectly staged that they mirror the characters deepest thoughts – The appearance of the three witches is always accompanied by green fog – a perfect realization of Shakespeare´s idea of „fog and filthy air“

Furthermore the movie stands out due to a authentic performance of Michael Fassbender as Macbeth. In his changeability he is a romantic man that loves his woman while throwing heads at the kings minion in the next moment. The audience can nearly feel how hypocrisy, ambition and distrust destroy this character finally resulting in a tyrant who stops at nothing.

Even better is the portrayal of Lady Macbeth through Marion Cotillard. A woman who is showing on the one hand a rahter shy and secluded woman that still mourns for her dead son but on the other hand shows her influence and comprehension for her man and the hierachical system. Cold and calculating but also subtle this woman manages to pull the strings.

Sadly the aspects that make the movie so interesting are partly overused. The picturesque landscapes do alternate with small and dark rooms that are lighted through candles. This is interesting for a while but also gets dull after a while. The audience really develops a strong desire for a a bit of light. In addition to that the story is nearly just a concentrate of the play Shakespeare has written a few hundred years ago. Without any previous knowledge about the plot or the character composition the film is quite difficult to follow as it starts right off, develops the story quickly and does not give much backround information about the characters.

Finally, one can surely say that neither Justin Kurzel´s ideas nor the performances of Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard are perfect but with a remarkable strong Mise-en-Scène, a specific and unique look and an overall very succesful piece of acting the movie is definetly worth to watch and very extraordinary play adaptation.

by Jan-Patrick Dietz


The 2015 British-French-American adaption of Macbeth is based on William Shakespeare’s drama from 1605.

The character Macbeth is an ambitious Scottish general, who receives a prophecy predicting that he will become King of Scotland. Driven by his own lust of power and his wife’s ambition he kills King Duncan. Macbeth and his wife are completely in a spiral of murder and bloodshed that Lady Macbeth finally commits suicide and Maceth gets killed by Macduff.

As the film was clearly cut from the original version, it was easier to follow the plot and concentrate on the actors. I think this is an important point because the actors all looked very similar. The dark and cloudy atmosphere, the constantly rain and the bloody fights supported the difficulties to tell them apart and created a pessimistic mood.

Another negative aspect I did not like about the film is that it was quite difficult to understand the actors because they were kind of mumbling the sentences which were still in Shakespeare’s original language. That made it even more difficult to understand them.

Before watching the film I thought it would be difficult to transfer a drama from 1606 into a contemporary issue. But you may compare it to the process of getting a job. Nowadays one of the most important things in life is to get a good job. To reach our goals we have to make sacrifices and may do things we normally wouldn’t do.

To conclude I would not recommend the film Macbeth, because the language and the plot are quite difficult to understand if you didn’t inform yourself about the plot before watching the film.

by Paula Fischer


Justin Kurzel’s modern adaptation of Shakespeare’s “Macbeth” (2015) is challenging. Its pacing is slow, the tone is depressing and it is easy for the modern viewer to get lost in the double- and triple meanings of Shakespearian language.  Nevertheless it is a brilliant piece of cinematography and if you are interested in getting into Shakespeare you will be enthralled by the movie’s authenticity to the original, strong acting, emotional depth and consistent cinematic efforts to create an intense atmosphere.
The producer goes all the way to make “Macbeth” as authentic as possible, rarely cutting lines from the original play or changing the setting from the stage directions. The verses from centuries before are able to hit the reader with their intended intensity. It plays in the Middle Ages so the makeup is minimalistic and more so, the actors appear dirty throughout the scenes. This naked honesty gives room for the play’s emotions to be conveyed.
Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard portray the famous couple of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth in this adaptation. Their performances are so overwhelmingly consuming, that even when you are angry with them or frightened by them you cannot but to feel empathy for them. One soliloquy is particularly spectacular: the blunt simplicity of a three-minute close-up of Cotillard’s face is painfully gripping and her insanity is almost physically graspable.
A fresh twist to the play is the reinterpretation of emotional content. While Shakespeare’s original focuses on ambition, Kurzel incorporates a new aspect: PTSD. After having lost a child and being separated from his wife by battle without having the chance to grieve, Macbeth is suffering from posttraumatic stress disorder. This explains why he and his wife initially kill Duncan and why he is so paranoid. His disorder changes nothing about the plot, but everything about the way we perceive it, adding a layer of depth to the characters and making them more human.
What makes this movie so memorable to me is its perfect cinematography. For example, colour grading plays a crucial role: a lot of natural light is used, but often changed when the viewer is looking from the perspective of different characters. While Macbeth perceives the light as greenish, it is grey when we see it through the eyes of someone else. Generally the sky is gloomy and the lighting makes the cast look pale and tired. The imagery works with rich symbolism: the colour red is always present when dark plans are being crafted; fire and its flickering show that nothing is what it seems. To emphasize how lonely Macbeth is with his fears and thoughts you always see him in large rooms or landscapes. The experience of the movie is so vehement because it is so well thought out.
All in all, I would absolutely recommend the movie. It is worth the struggle of trying to understand the language spoken and when you have started, Macbeth won’t let you go again.
by Emily Fitzgibbon 

Justin Kurzel’s “Macbeth” from 2005 shows the tragedy by William Shakespeare in a different light then we have seen it yet.
The movie scores with great acting and breathtaking atmosphere.
It is a must seen for every one who is able to engage in the early modern english language.

This modern adaption and interpretaion of Shakespeare’s play,
still comes with an un-updated setting of the Middel-Ages Scotland and the original language of Shakespeare.
Humorous moments and the ironic volte-face are largly cut out.
What remains is a seriousness all over the movie.
As well Kurzel cut the porter scene along with the charakter Donalbain and reinterpretated the familiar passages.

With the setting of the Middel-Ages Scotland Kurzal chose a oppresive atmosphere which shines through
grim realism and a dark, foggy, rainy and form time to time mysterious atmosphere.
Already in the beginning you notice the consitent atmosphere,
wide landscape, the death of a young child and the appearence of the witches.

The great acting is mainly performed by Michael Fassbender (Macbeth) and Marrion Cotillard (Lady Macbeth).
Fassbender plays his role in this extend almost perfectly, like he was born for this!
Especially during the hallucinations brought on by post-traumatic disorder,
which gives a new context to some of the spectral elements of the story without defanging them.
One of the most important ones is when he thinks banquo is still alive and at his banquet, which drives him crazy at this point.
On the other side Cotillard brought great self-contained acting to set.
The way she plays the developing role of Lady Macbeth is from the beginning to the end admiring.
She starts as the cold and calculating Lady of Macbeth and slowly realises to what she has made him.

Justin Kurzel aswell picked up something Shakespeare forgot, when he dedicates the last picture of the movie to Fleance the son of Banquo,
who will become King of Scotland afterwards due to the prophecies.
Aswell he made Macbeth’s childlessness to one of the major topics as we can already see in the first scene.
When a funeral of a dead child, probably Macbeth’s child, takes part.

by Ben Mießen


Bloody with a chance of ruling – that is what the weather forecast for Justin Kurzel´s movie adaptation of William Shakespeare´s famous play „Macbeth“ would probably look like. Extensively praised by the media and nominated for the „Golden Palm“ at Cannes Film Festival this Movie is seemingly the best Macbeth adaptation ever made. In the following we will see wether the film can fulfil these demands.

One of the movies most striking aspects is the dark atmosphere it conveys. Wide and impressive landscapes, a dark and blue coloring that absolutely forces the audience to get lost in the events and weather phenomenons which are so perfectly staged that they mirror the characters deepest thoughts – The appearance of the three witches is always accompanied by green fog – a perfect realization of Shakespeare´s idea of „fog and filthy air“

Furthermore the movie stands out due to a authentic performance of Michael Fassbender as Macbeth. In his changeability he is a romantic man that loves his woman while throwing heads at the kings minion in the next moment. The audience can nearly feel how hypocrisy, ambition and distrust destroy this character finally resulting in a tyrant who stops at nothing.

Even better is the portrayal of Lady Macbeth through Marion Cotillard. A woman who is showing on the one hand a rahter shy and secluded woman that still mourns for her dead son but on the other hand shows her influence and comprehension for her man and the hierachical system. Cold and calculating but also subtle this woman manages to pull the strings.

Sadly the aspects that make the movie so interesting are partly overused. The picturesque landscapes do alternate with small and dark rooms that are lighted through candles. This is interesting for a while but also gets dull after a while. The audience really develops a strong desire for a a bit of light. In addition to that the story is nearly just a concentrate of the play Shakespeare has written a few hundred years ago. Without any previous knowledge about the plot or the character composition the film is quite difficult to follow as it starts right off, develops the story quickly and does not give much backround information about the characters.

Finally, one can surely say that neither Justin Kurzel´s ideas nor the performances of Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard are perfect but with a remarkable strong Mise-en-Scène, a specific and unique look and an overall very succesful piece of acting the movie is definetly worth to watch and very extraordinary play adaptation.

The modern movie adaption “Macbeth” leaves space for different opinions and views on Justin Kurzel’s adaption Shakespeare’s play “Macbeth”.

In the following comment I will discuss whether, I approve Justin Kurzel’s adaption and interpretation of Shakespeare’s play “Macbeth”, and whether I approve Michael Fassbender’s and Marion Cotillard’s rendition of the famous royal couple, Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. 

 Justin Kurzel’s adaption and interpretation of Shakespeare’s play “Macbeth”, has a modern touch with many stunning and breathtaking moments, packed into 1h 53min. 

The situation of poverty and war is perfectly summed up in the first war scene in “Macbeth”. It’s a bloody and cruel mess, wherefore it makes the scene with the “weird sisters” stand out, while using slow motion effects and the silenced background sounds. The adaption of the movie’s language and visualizing attracts the attention of the viewer and allows him to understand the concept of “Macbeth” clearly, which is why the viewer can follow the movie more easily. Even though the movie adaption of “Macbeth” is ‘modernized’, it tries to stay close to the original play, by including appropriate sceneries to illustrate the inner mental state of Macbeth and how the murder affected his person.

As well as the scenery and landscape, the rendition of the famous royal couple, Macbeth and Lady Macbeth, played by Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard, contribute a big part to the successful adaption of the play “Macbeth”

Michael Fassbender, in the role of Macbeth, perfectly sums up the mental status Macbeth’s after he has committed several murders. One can see how the madness slowly takes over Macbeth, by the facial expression and acting of Michael Fassbender.

Marion Cotillard fits the role of Lady Macbeth brilliantly, since she embodies the cold character,who is ambitious to push Macbeth to the king’s throne.

 In my opinion, the modern adaption and interpretation of Shakespeare’s tragedy “Macbeth”, as well as the rendition of the famous royal couple, Macbeth and Lady Macbeth, could not be more accurate. It visualizes the traumatic transition from a mentally sane to a mentally insane person, because of several murders. The character’s rendition and illustration of the recurring victims as ghosts, stresses this madness enormously. 

by Clarissa Engelhardt 


Everything seems to be perfectly in tune with itself – but not in tune with the original play.
It is clear to see that the 2015 version of the play Macbeth has been changed by adding multiple motives and meanwhile cutting other major motives. But is it still the drama you expect it to be?
First to start with is the freshly added theme of Macbeth’s childlessness.
In a play that is filled with violence and its psychological consequences, something like childlessness just does not fit the overall context. That’s probably also why Shakespeare just hinted at that topic in his play. But still this topic is crucial aspect in the adaptation, which in the end changes the atmosphere of the dark and violent Macbeth to a more bittersweet atmosphere.
Secondly, when speaking of atmosphere, the supernatural one vanishes as well and with it the original qualities of Macbeth. By explaining Macbeth’s hallucinations and fractured psyche through the phenomenon of post traumatic stress disorder the mysterious aspect drowns throughout the story.
Nevertheless, the cast for the main protagonists Macbeth and Lady Macbeth were chosen perfectly. Even though a different tone is set in the movie, Lady Macbeth for instance still delivers the character traits of a fragile person, which desperately tries to accomplish political goals by pulling the strings and influencing her husband.
Furthermore the psychological consequences of murder and bloodshed can be clearly seen in Macbeth’s face. The pain of being torn inside is mirrored in a convincing way when looking at the relationship between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth.
In conclusion one can say that this adaptation might in tune with itself, but as stated in the beginning, not in tune with the dark and mysterious Macbeth.
However in the end one will notice that it this play is not bound to have a right rendition. As Fassbender himself said, there were so many ways of performing.
In this movie Kruzel just simply decided to take a step towards a rather modern perception of the play and its topic and themes. In order to accomplish that step some sacrifices certainly have to be taken, even if that means to let go of the original charm that the drama Macbeth conveys.

by Alexander Wollenweber


Someone from a completely different time period than Shakespeare can’t truly adapt one of his play and still make it interesting, can he? Well, Justin Kurzel tried to. He’s the director of the 2015 movie adaption of the famous play “Macbeth” and in order to create a good movie which combines both aspects, he had to make changes to the actual play. But how exactly did he do that and are the changes convenient? You will find out.

 One big change Kurzel performed is not opening the movie with the famous witch-scene. Instead, it starts with the funeral of a baby which plays a huge role for his interpretation of the play. The three witches are also accompanied by a child and later carry a baby. All of this is supposed to hint at the death of Macbeth’s and Lady Macbeth’s child. In the actual play, this idea is also suggested due to Lady Macbeth saying “I have given suck, and know how tender ‘tis to love the babe that milks me”. The lost child makes the behavior of Lady Macbeth much more reasonable which is why in the movie she seems to be less heartless than I expected her to be. Adding children to the witches also helps creating a darker atmosphere because someone as innocent as a child should be neither dead nor in contact with magic. 

 Furthermore, Kurzel decided to focus on the main characters’ posttraumatic stress disorders. This brings in a whole new context for interpretating their behavior without changing Shakespeare’s original idea. “Oh, full of scorpions is my mind, dear wife” is one of the quotes that show how Macbeth suffers from this illness, Shakespeare could not name. Therefore, this aspect added to the movie adaption is probably something the writer would have approved.

 To sum up, I think the movie adaption by Justin Kurzel does stay true to the play it is based on considering how it delivers the dark and tense atmosphere of the play by using fire as a guiding theme and the characters’ inducement.

by Johanna Jörgens 


Justin Kurzel’s adaptation is based on Shakespeare’s “Macbeth” (2015). Macbeth, played by Michael Fassbender, gets prophecies to become king of Scotland. Lady Macbeth commits him to murder King Duncan but after the deed, she realizes that she created a tyrant. He orders to kill Banquo and also kills Macduff’s wife and children out of paranoia. The way Lady Macbeth changed through the movie is challenging. First she is obsessed with power and wealth and would do everything to reach it, but you can see how she slowly gets insane and regret the crime especially in the scene where Macbeth kills Macduff’s wife and children.

Directly in the beginning Kurzel presents the battle in a way it couldn’t have been better.  The warrior are progressing in slow motion with war paint in their angry faces. Fog and mud everywhere. After the battle Macbeth gets prophesied by the three witches, who disappear in the rainy and foggy weather. This creates a really mysterious atmosphere. What I also like is the change between silent and dramatic music. It supports the exciting and mysterious atmosphere throughout the movie. The whole movie is held in grey tones except in the last scene where Fleance, the son of Banquo, and Malcolm, the son of Duncan were shown alternately. Both are going into a deep red-orange sunset, which also underlines the mysterious atmosphere.

Some negative aspects are that the characters looked quite similar to me so sometimes it was a little confusing and the language was not easy to understand. What I also didn’t like is that there was a little too much blood and brutality for me, so I had to look away, but that’s part of the movie. Without this, the adaptation wouldn’t be this good.

I would recommend Justin Kurzel’s modern adaptation because the movie’s tension stays consistent and it’s totally worth it to concentrate for about two hours on shakespearian language. 

by Cynthia Chammas