Starring Sir Patrick Stewart as Macbeth and Kate Fleetwood as Lady Macbeth, Rupert Goold's immediate and visceral film is set in an undefined and threatening central European world. Shot on location in the mysterious underground labyrinth of Welbeck Abbey in Nottinghamshire, this is a contemporary presentation of Shakespeare's intense, claustrophobic and bloody drama. The film is based on the Chichester Festival Theatre production of the play that enjoyed sell-out runs in the West End and on Broadway. Patrick Stewart won Best Actor and Rupert Goold Best Director in the Evening Standard Theatre Awards for the stage production and both Patrick Stewart and Kate Fleetwood were nominated for Tony Awards for their performances. Goold has been described as 'the hottest, most exciting director around', and Macbeth is his debut as a film director. When the film was screened by the BBC in 2010, the critics were unanimous in their enthusiastic praise.
Patrick Stewart in the lead role surely a masterpiece? Sadly not. This tries too hard to be a cutting edge modern updated Shakespeare. Macbeth is a senior army man and the setting is predominantly in empty hangers or bleak basement corridors. The acting is overly dramatic and gruesome. I prefer Shakespeare plays to be more traditional and less like a Pink Floyd film.