(Sam Worthington, Gary Sweet, Victoria Hill, et al / DVD / NR / 2007 / Starz - Anchor Bay)
Overview: With his fourth film, Australian director Geoffrey Wright attempts to contemporize a Shakespeare classic. Featuring Elizabethan dialogue in the midst of an urban and violent modern-day setting, 'Macbeth' stars Sam Worthington as the title character.
DVD Verdict: Australian filmmaker Geoffrey Wright, best known for 'Romper Stomper' which starred a young Russell Crowe as a Neo-Nazi, steps up to the plate with 'Macbeth,' his version set in the modern-day underworld of Melbourne.
As we all know (don't we?), the original play followed the story of Macbeth, a general, who is spurred on by the prophecies of three witches known as the Weird Sisters and the urgings of his wife to betray and murder, Duncan, the King of Scotland. In Wright´s film, Duncan (Gary Sweet) is now the head of a powerful crime family with Macbeth (Sam Worthington) as one of his lieutenants.
The movie opens in a cemetery where MacBeth and his wife, the Lady Macbeth (Victoria Hill, who also co-wrote and produced the film) mourn over the grave of their son. It's in this graveyard that MacBeth initially spots the Weird Sisters (Chloe Armstrong, Kate Bell, and Miranda Nation), in this case not old, wizened hags but three bodacious red-haired young schoolgirls ... who prefer a foggy dance floor to the cold heath!
That night, Macbeth and his friend, Banquo (Steve Bastoni), are doing a drug deal with the Macdonwald gang at the docks. Of course, the deal goes bad and bullets fly. Macbeth and Banquo gun down the remaining aggressors and take control of Macdonwald´s nightclub. This is kind of where the movie's plot tends to weave a little left of center as suddenly get to view an expressionless lead Worthington in voice-over mode, followed by Hill's semi-laughable "Out, out damn spot" ... done topless! Add to that orgies of bloodletting and Macbeth and the schoolgirls engaging in a four-way orgy of their own and well, you can see just where this version of the great tale has set its stake.
In truth, and based on the DVD cover art making it out to look 100% like 'Underworld' (with the dark tones and characters in black leather trenchcoats, etc.) Wright´s 'Macbeth' is somewhat pretentious, plods along for huge chunks of time, and features some rather mechanically spoken Shakespearean dialogue. When the action does come along, Wright uses just about every clichéd technique in the action director´s playbook. We´ve got slow-motion, fast-motion, Dutch angles, tight close-ups, and quick cuts. There´s nothing inventive or exciting about any of the action set pieces ... sorry! This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:
"Making Of" Featurette including:
Director Geoffrey Wright
Stars Sam Worthington and Victoria Hill