Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, August 9, 2018


Florence Pugh and Cosmo Jarvis
LADY MACBETH (2016). Director: William Oldroyd.

Katherine (Florence Pugh) lives on a farm in 19th century England with her horrible father-in-law, Boris (Christopher Fairbank), her cold husband, Alexander (Paul Hilton), and assorted workmen and servants. Into her life comes a brash groom named Sebastian (Cosmo Jarvis), and the two begin a passionate affair. They manage to remove all obstacles to their happiness in ruthless fashion, and then are confronted with a sweet little boy, Teddy (Anton Palmer), who is her late husband's ward and now his chief heir ... The story that inspired Lady Macbeth was filmed once before as Siberian Lady Macbeth, and that is by far the superior picture. This version shifts the action from Russia to England, and while it remains gloomy, it loses something in the "translation." The lead performances are good, although hardly expert, and there is some interesting work from Hilton and Fairbank, as well as Naomi Ackie as the maid, Anna, and Golda Rosheuve as little Teddy's caregiver, Agnes. The concessions to modern taste don't always work well and the new ending to the story, while very depressing, doesn't pack the satisfying wallop of the original. Siberian Lady Macbeth has much more raw dramatic power than this.  When will modern film directors realize that the low-key approach isn't always the best one?

Verdict: Stick with the more faithful Yugoslavian version. **1/2. 


angelman66 said...

Yes, will look for the Russian version, even though this one is all over HBO.
Have a great week, Bill!!

William said...

You too, Chris! Thanks so much your your comments!