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Quick Review - The Tragedy of Macbeth

The Tragedy of Macbeth is a 2021 historical drama film directed by Joel Coen, written by Joel Coen, produced by A24 and IAC Films, and distributed by A24 and Apple TV+. It's based on William Shakespeare's 1623 play, Macbeth. It stars Denzel Washington and Frances McDormand. It was nominated for Best Actor, Best Cinematography, and Best Production Design. This is the seventh theatrically released film adaptation of Macbeth. It was preceded by Macbeth.

"Is this a dagger which I see before me?" - Lord Macbeth


After a prophecy from three witches declares Lord Macbeth the King of Scotland, he sets out upon a path of murder and manipulation as he becomes more and more powerful. However, as Macbeth grows more evil, he also makes more enemies, and will have to face them in times to come.

My Favorite Thing About The Tragedy of Macbeth

I was really looking forward to this film. I saw the trailers and was stunned by the cinematography and visual flair that they had. And the film does retain that flair. This film has some of the coolest shots I've ever seen in a movie. If it doesn't win Best Cinematography at the Oscars, I will be shocked. Joel Coen strips the classic story of Macbeth to it's visual elements. The black-and-white color scheme works, the mistiness of the sound stage works, and the use of lighting and camera positioning is just immaculate. It's a treat for the eyes of the viewer, and if you really want a great film to look at, you will appreciate this movie.

My Least Favorite Thing About The Tragedy of Macbeth

However, if you need more than just visual perfection, this movie won't work for you. I don't read Shakespeare outside of school, and, while I knew the basic outline of Macbeth, I was having some trouble following this movie. The dialogue is pulled from the early 1600s, and that just doesn't work with people nowadays, where Batman and Star Wars are our main forms of entertainment. If you do not know the story of Macbeth and haven't read Shakespeare, you will be lost with this film.

Why The Tragedy of Macbeth Doesn't Work For Me

As I just said, I like big, blockbuster superhero flicks. I like sci-fi. I like thrillers. This film is the opposite of that. It's a piece of art. It's an A24 movie, and that's what they are known for disturbing. Art. Simply put: I was bored out of my mind during this movie. I appreciate it for the beautiful shots and for the great performances from Denzel Washington and others, but I just did not enjoy this movie. A lot of the scenes that were just dialogue were so long and so boring. If you are a casual movie fan, you will be as bored as I was. If you like Shakespeare or more artistic films, then I'd check this one out.

Final Score

The Tragedy of Macbeth is a visual achievement and nothing else. Shakespeare's complicated dialogue simply doesn't work for modern audience-goers, and I did not enjoy this movie.

I'm going Sour here. Age range is 12+.


Sweet (Great)

Savory (Good)

Sour (Bad)

Moldy (Terrible)

"The Tragedy of Macbeth"

Fun Factor: 2/10

Acting: 8.5/10

Characters: 5.5/10

Story: 6.5/10

Quality: 8/10


Theaters: Limited release only

Apple TV+: Available with subscription

Directed by Joel Coen

Rated R for moderate violence, frightening images, disturbing themes, thematic elements

Released on December 25, 2021

1 hour and 45 minutes

Denzel Washington as Lord Macbeth

Frances McDormand as Lady Macbeth

Corey Hawkins as Macduff

Kathryn Hunter as The Witches

Harry Melling as Malcolm

Brendan Gleeson as King Duncan

Bertie Carvel as Banquo

Alex Hassell as Ross


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