Roman Polanski’s Macbeth is a cinematographic take on one of Shakespeare’s most famous plays. It was written between 1603 and 1607, in a period in which tragedies were chiefly based on such great universal themes as love, power, ambition and death. In the film these topics are linked in many different ways and highlighted by the main characters’ behaviour and personalities. This becomes more and more evident as we follow Macbeth, who struggles to realize the three witches’ first prophecy. Spurred on by his wife, he is prepared to have his reputation soiled by various crimes, even murder, in order to fulfil his thirst for power.

This film is Roman Polanski’s comeback after the tragic loss of his wife. The traces of this terrible event are reflected in his interpretation of the Shakespearean play. The negativity and pessimism of the author are portrayed through morbid and gory scenes and through the actors’ performances, but the film still remains faithful to the original tragedy. Polanski focuses his attention on the inner pain of the protagonists by reproducing it in its successive phases: first, their burning and determined ambition leads them to commit a crime they recognize to be horrific, after which fear and remorse haunts them in the form of delirious visions.

The actors’ performances are brilliant and not only do they interpret challenging roles, but they are also able to attenuate the complexity of the Shakespearean language. The use of Shakespeare’s original verses makes the film sound so realistic that you feel like you are being addressed personally.

Despite the fact that Polanski didn’t have the same special effects that we have today, he exploits locations full of atmosphere and appropriate costumes that make the viewer able to identify with the historical period. This makes the movie one of the best depictions of Shakespeare’s original play.

We recommend this production to all Shakespeare lovers: your heart will pant!

Sara Belfassi, Vera De Biasi, Kadidia Oumou Konsegre, Chiara Miglioranza e Letizia Porzio