25 April 2018

KIT MONKMAN'S 'MACBETH.' (2018) REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS.




MACBETH. (2018) BASED ON THE PLAY BY WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE. WRITTEN AND DIRECTED BY KIT MONKMAN.
STARRING MARK ROWLEY, AKIYA HENRY, AL WEAVER, CHARLIE HAMBLETT, PHILIPPE SPALL AND CHARLES MNENE.
REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

A Unique Reimagining of Macbeth available on digital download from 23rd April 2018, courtesy of Goldfinch Studios!
New release available on the anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth and death

''An edgy, innovative adaptation” 
The Guardian
A beautiful moving work of art... a deeply compelling intervention in the screen history of Shakespeare” 
British Shakespeare Association
 "Brilliant and exhilarating... It’s the most innovative rethinking of what it means to put Shakespeare on film for decades” 
Professor Peter Holland, Chair of the International Shakespeare Association & Editor of Shakespeare Survey

Och aye the noo! I've always thought myself that MACBETH was the best of old Willie Shakespeare's plays, even though I've only ever read two of 'em, this and ROMEO AND JULIET. These are the two plays I had to read in school.

But the story of Macbeth is so stirring, I honestly can't imagine it being topped by, say, Othello or boring old Richard The Third or any of those lads. Now the fans of these two plays will send me hate mail, lol. I probably deserve it. If you include an SAE I'll send you a reply. Believe it or not, I'm actually quite lonely underneath this confident exterior.

The best screen version of MACBETH I've ever seen is the Roman Polanski one from 1971, starring posh heart-throb Jon Finch and Francesca Annis. Nothing will ever top this version for me. The locations are stunningly bleak and the acting is brilliant. Plus Jon Finch is a big ride, which helps.

This screen version of MACBETH we're looking at now is a MACBETH for the hipster generation. All the men have hipster beards and carefully gelled hair and the director, thinking he's being so clever lol, has allowed some of the cast to wear their own clothes and hipster glasses.

Okay, so no-one drinks hipster coffee in it or talks about a great new place to buy organic soap made from the shit of Peruvian peasants that really deep-cleans the skin, but it's a hipster version nonetheless and I can't be persuaded otherwise.

The scenes take place within a multi-balconied theatrical-type structure all perfectly enclosed within the confines of a globe. That's probably hard to picture but you'll see what I mean when you watch the film, and I do recommend that you watch it.

Some of the scenes look like an architect's blueprints. The film is nothing if not extremely innovative and original, to give it its due. There are modern beds, modern furniture, modern graphics throughout in a modern theatre setting and a genuine feel that you're watching something old that's being treated in a new way, if you get me.

'… And with his former title, greet Macbeth.'

A proud and beautiful black woman, not a hag at all, is the Queen of the Witches. 'All hail Macbeth,' she says, 'who shall be King thereafter.' Macbeth is naturally thrilled with this prediction, especially when the first part of it comes true with his being crowned Thane of Cawdor after the former Thane cops it. But it's not all plain sailing:

'The Prince of Cumberland (referring to King Duncan's hot son, Malcolm); that's a step on which I must fall down, or else o'er-leap, for in my way it lies.'

Lady Macbeth is a stunning black woman whose ambition surpasses even Macbeth's own. 

'Screw your courage to the sticking-place, and we'll not fail.' She pleads with the gods to 'unsex' her and fill her with 'the direst cruelty' necessary to kill Duncan, the King of Scotland, when he comes to stay at Macbeth's castle, blissfully unaware of the grim fate that awaits him.

'Bring forth men children only,' Macbeth tells his missus, 'for thy unvaunted mettle should compose nothing but males.' They have sex in this version, by the way, on their sterile modern beds. Brief nudity notwithstanding, I prefer the older, more realistic versions where they all bedded down on straw in the Great Hall, pissed drunk and being licked and pissed on by Great Danes. That was the life, lol.

The death of Duncan marks the start of Macbeth's downfall.

'Is this a dagger which I see before me, the handle towards my hand?'

'Sleep no more; Macbeth shall sleep no more. Macbeth hath murdered sleep. Glamis hath murdered sleep and therefore Cawdor shall sleep no more; Macbeth shall sleep no more.' Okay, we get it, Macbeth's gonna have trouble sleeping. Jeez...!

'It is the eye of childhood that fears a painted devil.'

'To know my deed, 'twere best not know myself.'

'Wake Duncan with thy knocking? I wouldst thou could!'

Aston Merrygold from X FACTOR manufactured pop boyband JLS, or at least a guy who looks very much like him, lol, discovers the murdered body of the King. Macbeth looks terribly fetching in his red shirt and black leather skirt ensemble while all the kerfuffle is going on, and then he shaves his beard when he officially becomes the King in Duncan's place. He still looks like a hipster though, only one who's shaved for a bloody change.

Now it's Banquo's turn for the chop, as the Wyrd Sisters have predicted great things for Banquo's spermlings and Macbeth can't have that. Banquo and Macbeth having a bit of a laugh together first is so funny. 

They look like a couple of bonafide hipsters standing outside the pub at the end of the night having the craic, and their Scottish accents are so strong that you kind of feel like you're watching the Shakespearean TRAINSPOTTING or something. I wouldn't be at all surprised if they burst spontaneously into a barrage of swears.

There's this hilarious bit near the end where Macbeth is screaming at Seyton, who looks like a cross between Alan Rickman and Gary Oldman, and his Scottish accent is so thick and strong that it sounds like he's screeching, Caligula-style: 'Get me my lawnmower! Get me my lawnmower!' Oh, but my Imperial Liege, Birnam Wood is coming to Dunsinane as per the prophecy, surely this is no time for yard work...!

When Banquo cops it and Fleance hops it, it represents another new low for Macbeth, but he has his reasons. After all, 'to be thus is nothing, but to be safely thus.'

The scene where Macbeth is sitting down to dinner with his Queen and courtiers and he imagines that he sees the blood-soaked Banquo at the other end of the table is one of the best in the film, but Lady Macbeth's agonised discomfiture is so obvious that you'd really feel for her.

'Why do you make such faces? When all is said and done, you look but on a stool!'

First she urges the guests to stay seated, then when it looks like the tormented Macbeth is losing his mind, it's all: 'Stand not upon the order of your going, but go at once! A kind goodnight to all.'

Don't tell me you've never had a social occasion or get-together ruined by a pissed friend or a dotty relative hell-bent on washing the family's dirty laundry in public. Eventually, even Lady Macbeth begins to fall apart:

'Hell is murky...!'

'What need we fear who knows it when none can call our power to account?'

'The Thane of Fife had a wife, where is she now?'

'Who would have thought the old man to have so much blood in him?'

'All the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand!'

By this stage, of course, Aston Merrygold's, I mean, MacDuff's, the Thane of Fife's wife and children have all been brutally slaughtered by Macbeth's men. Macbeth has almost reached his nadir with this foul and obscene act of violence.

'All my pretty chickens and their dam, in one fell swoop?'

This leads the savagely angry Thane of Fife to utter the words:

'Front to front, bring thou this fiend of Scotland and myself.' It is on...

Macbeth isn't initially too bothered. After all: 'Be bloody, bold and resolute, laugh to scorn the power of men for none of woman born shall harm Macbeth.' And let's not forget that: 'Macbeth shall never vanquished be, till Birnam Wood doth come to Dunsinane.'

The final showdown is gripping.

'The Devil himself could not pronounce a title more hateful to mine ears.'

'If thou be slain but with no stroke of mine, then my childrens' ghosts doth haunt me still.'

'I bear a charmed life, which must not yield to one of woman born.'

'Lay on, MacDuff, and damned be he who first cries Hold, enough!'

'Out, out, brief candle! Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more. It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.'

And then of course, there's the wicked punchline:

'Macduff was from his mother's womb untimely ripped...!'

The time has come for the shit, as they say, to hit the fan...

This may be Shakespeare for the Hipster Generation and Macbeth and his Missus in their wine velvet outfits the perfect Instagram couple, but it's still an enjoyable and entertaining watch, if not as colourful as other versions.

It's a wee bit muted and colourless, in fact, compared to other versions, but it does justice to the Bard's words nonetheless. Give it a watch and, then, as a reward, I'll tell you a great new place to buy soap made from the shit of Peruvian peasants that really deep-cleans the skin. From what I've heard, you're totally worth it.



Macbeth will be available to stream via iTunes, Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Sky Store, and Vubiquity.
Twitter: @macbeth_thefilm #macbeththefilm 


Kit Monkman Bio
Kit is a leading and prolific innovator across stage, film and public environments. He is the founder of KMA, a position from which he has developed high-end aesthetics for music videos and show design, with clients including Prince, Paolo Nutini and London Grammar.  

About Goldfinch
Goldfinch Studios is the new brand under which GSP Studios and Goldfinch Entertainment Limited, amongst others, are working in collaboration. Following several years of hyper-growth in both businesses coupled with the development of an increasingly close working relationship, Goldfinch Studios was launched in 2017. The Goldfinch Studios brand will provide a vertically integrated business model with expertise across finance, production, facilities, post and VFX. Goldfinch Studios’ upcoming slate builds upon GSP Studios’ reputation which according to the BFI, is the most prolific production company in the UK having produced 13 films with a combined budget of £39m between 2014- 2016, with titles including Solis (Steven Ogg), Mad to Be Normal (David Tennant) and That Good Night (Sir John Hurt).

AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.

Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, film blogger and movie reviewer. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, womens' fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra's books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:

http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B015GDE5RO

You can contact Sandra at:

https://www.facebook.com/SandraHarrisPureFilthPoetry

http://sandrafirstruleoffilmclubharris.wordpress.com









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