Macbeth: William Shakespeare

Macbeth

★★★★ ½

(directed by Justin Kurzel, 2015)

When enthusing about Dorothy Dunnett’s superlative novel King Hereafter, or Kurosawa’s gripping Throne of Blood, I’d always felt a secret shame that I hadn’t actually ever seen the source material: the Scottish play itself. But now I can hold my head high thanks to Justin Kurzel’s new film, which sounded so promising that it persuaded me to go to the cinema for the first time since March 2014; and, with a couple of friends, I descended on Covent Garden Odeon for opening night.

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The Devil’s Whore

The Devil's Whore

★★★★½

First screened in 2008, this four-part TV series shows us the English Civil War through the eyes of a woman. Subtitled, in a teasing nod to the Newgate scandal-sheets, A True Account of the Life and Times of Angelica Fanshawe, it begins in the early 1640s.  Angelica (Andrea Riseborough) is goddaughter to Charles I, blessed with wealth, position and security: the first episode opens on the eve of war, with her wedding to her cousin Harry, her childhood sweetheart.  As hostilities between King and Parliament deepen, her married life comes to an abrupt close and, banished from the court, Angelica finds herself in growing sympathy with those who seek to make a better world.  The series follows her as she struggles to defend her own well-being and her family home, as the sands of political fortune shift under her feet.

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A Dangerous Method (2011)

A Dangerous Method

★★★½

(directed by David Cronenberg, 2012)

My friend invited me to come to see this with her last night, on its first day of release.  I went knowing very little about it, and without having ever seen a film directed by Cronenberg before.  I know that when it was shown at the London Film Festival last year it had mixed reviews, but I found it a subtle and thought-provoking introduction to Freud’s and Jung’s psychoanalytic theories, and a film that was very well acted by all three of its protagonists.  Writing these words, I’m becoming aware that everything I’ve seen or done recently has been described with a surfeit of superlatives, but I’m not being unduly nice, I’ve just been fortunate to have a spate of really enjoyable things to keep me occupied.

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Jane Eyre (2011)

Jane Eyre

★★★★½

(directed by Cary Fukunaga, 2011)

This is a retrospective review, as I saw Jane Eyre a fortnight ago now. Having read glowing reports of the film, I was really looking forward to it, even though the story has had more than its fair share of adaptations (along with Emma and Pride and Prejudice). One might ask: do we need another version? However, Cary Fukunaga has done a great job and gives a much-loved classic the sensual film treatment it deserves.

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