Sometime in the near future, someone is going to stumble upon Allied in a Redbox or on a premium cable channel, have no idea what it is about, and end up liking the movie just fine. Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard turn in reasonable performances, there is a surprising amount of detail to the plotting, and the ending is reasonable (if a little slap-dash; endings are hard). Unfortunately, this movie is absolutely ruined by its trailer. Of course, explaining why means delving into some pretty serious spoilers myself, which will also ruin the movie, but Allied isn’t so great to begin with, so it is no real crime there. In fact, I can think of at least two spy movies starring Brad Pitt that are better than Allied (Spy Game and Inglourious Basterds; and yes it is).
Shakespeare’s story of the Scottish king Macbeth is over 400 years old, and the story it is based upon dates back a further six centuries. Thus, it is important for storytellers to bring something new to the familiar tale of corruption, power, and guilt. Fortunately, Justin Kurzel’s version starring Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard as the titular characters is up to the task of providing a fresh take. Three major departures from the bard’s text are crucial for informing this discussion: the presence of the Baby Macbeth, the characterization of the Witches and the mystical forces in general, and a re-interpretation of the famous conclusion. With these tweaks in mind, we will see how Kurzel offers a much darker and more cynical view of Macbeth than most film-makers.
All you c-section babies can bail, though.
I’ve already written about the new adaptation of The Scottish Play with Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard in my Cannes Film Festival piece, but today they released the first trailer for Macbeth. It is bleak and gorgeous, offering an aesthetic more similar to the grime of Braveheart than the polish of your standard Shakespearean tragedy (even though sad things happen at the end, it is usually very pretty and opulent in the meantime). This teaser trailer, unnaturally long at nearly two minutes, provides us with an amazing view of the environment of this new Macbeth, gives us a glimpse into the lyricism of the language that will be employed, and is not afraid to show the main characters descend into power lust and madness. This is a perfect preview of the film, and has me even more excited than I was before.