What did you get when you mix Denzel Washington, Frances McDormand, director and writer Joel Coen, indie film powerhouse A24, and the prose of William Shakespeare? Apparently, you get an incredibly artful and violent adaptation of the timeless play Macbeth which, judging by the trailer, could be an absolute masterpiece of a film.
The trailer (and the whole movie presumably) is shot in striking black and white. The score and intensity ratchet up throughout the trailer as we get glimpses of both Denzel Washington as the title character and Frances McDormand as his wife, Lady Macbeth. If you’ve somehow managed to avoid reading Shakespeare’s classic play in your English classes, it tells the tale of the Scottish general Macbeth. He is told by three witches that he will one day be King of Scotland. Macbeth seeks to achieve this goal through deceit, murder, and the help of his wife Lady Macbeth. Check out Denzel Washington the trailer below:
The Tragedy of Macbeth is far from the only adaptation of the centuries-old source material. In fact, there was a straightforward movie retelling of the tale less than a decade ago when Michael Fassbender played the title character in 2015’s Macbeth. But, when you have a timeless tale that’s been around for as long as this, it’s sure to inspire many creative minds to make their own spin on it. As always, it looks like Denzel Washington and Frances McDormand are more than up to the task of delivering the flowery dialogue and intense performances that a Shakespeare adaptation requires.
Denzel Washington is fresh off the release of 2021’s Michael B. Jordan-starring A Journal for Jordan (currently in theatres), the first film Washington has directed since 2016’s Fences. Frances McDormand was last seen very recently, in the 2021Wes Anderson-directed The French Dispatch. Joel Coen hasn’t had a directorial effort since the Netflix anthology The Ballad of Buster Scruggs which was released in 2018. For that film, he was joined in the director role by his long-time collaborator and brother Ethan Coen. The Tragedy of Macbeth, however, will be a solo effort from Joel. It has already garnered significant critical acclaim, sitting at 94% on Rotten Tomatoes through more than 170 reviews.
One thing is for certain, Denzel Washington and Frances McDormand don’t often make bad movies, and their performances are almost always a highlight of the movies they’re in. The Coen Brothers, and Joel Coen by extension, rarely direct a movie that isn’t amazing. To top it all off, A24 is on as a producer, the entertainment studio known for modern classics like Uncut Gems, The Lighthouse, Ex Machina, Minari, The Green Knight, Mid90s, Moonlight, and many more. With this team behind it, it’s hard to imagine that The Tragedy of Macbeth isn’t a classic in the making.
Along with Denzel Washington and Frances McDormand, the film stars Corey Hawkins, Brendan Gleeson, Harry Melling, Bertie Carvel, and Alex Hassell. The Tragedy of Macbeth is currently doing a limited theatrical release which began on December 25, 2021. If it’s not playing in a theatre near you, you can stream it on Apple TV+ starting on January 14, 2022.