Macbeth Unhinged – EIFF 2016 Review

Written by ScottClark

The directorial debut from Scottish actor Angus Macfayden (Braveheart, Saw II) Macbeth Unhinged is a courageous, but faulted, reinterpretation of the timeless Shakespeare play.

first-look-review-macbeth-unhinged-L-R4kQVeMacfayden, who also wrote the film, updates The Bard’sScottish Play, repositioning it in gangland America, using derelict urban environments and the back of a limousine as his primary locations. It’s a great idea and serves his purposes well; to take one of the most famous power-plays ever written and subject it to the grimy underbelly of the American cityscape. Not just that, but to put dangerously self-possessed characters into the constrictive
environment of a car provides some intense moments. The performances are rich and focused, Macfayden makes a superb Macbeth whilst Kevin McNally, Taylor Roberts, and Harry Lennix all lend considerable talent and theatrical gravitas.

Technically the film is a bold piece of work, adopting stark B&W and Hitchcockian superimpositions to deliver something commendably avant-guard for a debut. Arthur Eng’s cinematography is perfect, summoning consistently powerful images that still entertain when the film starts to wobble. There’s something vaguely self-indulgent about the project that becomes increasingly apparent as the film progresses. If you don’t know Macbeth well, then you could feel lost in the wilderness of Macfayden’s messy adaptation; an adaptation which grasps the madness perfectly, but perhaps not the narrative. Macbeth Unhinged is an intriguing, well-acted, but eventually grating debut.


Scott Clark


Dir. Angus Macfadyen

Stars: Angus Macfadyen, Kevin McNally, Taylor Roberts, Harry Lennix

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