47 Years of Student Run Cinema
Student Film Society of the Year 2002, 2005, 2006
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Macbeth is another attempt of Welles to throw the viewer into a world of guilt, chaos and fear, this time through interpreting Shakespeare. Again, we are in familiar territory as we confront the megalomania of the hero and Welles' manic portrayal of him. In a film which has gained the praise of people like Jean Cocteau, Welles departs from the strictly classical interpretation of the play, by making, for example, the witches as agents of Macbeth's destiny. The whole attempt though gains in insight as the emphasis is here on the egocentrism of Macbeth rather than his relationship to his social milieu.
Welles creates a purely theatrical atmosphere as the film is shot almost exclusively in studio although one has to admit that the expressionist sets sometimes burden the communication of the irony involved in the play. Some scenes are beautifully orchestrated such as the one involving pagan rites with a priest exorcising Satan. Welles' depiction of Macbeth is a bit monolithic but it gradually sinks the viewer into the solipsistic paranoia which guides his acts. Had Welles been more adequately supported by the rest of the cast we would maybe be talking about a masterpiece; despite these flaws Welles' Macbeth operates perfectly as a classic horror film and it remains the best adaptation of the play onto the screen.
Review by Spiros Gangas
Taken from EUFS Programme 1993-94