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Macbeth ()

directed by
featuring Sam Worthington, Victoria Hill, Lachy Hulme, Steve Bastoni, Gary Sweet

With the 2006 MacBeth, controversial Australian director Geoffrey Wright (Romper Stomper, Metal Skin) launches his fourth big screen outing and continues the trend of reinventing Shakespeare by contemporizing the bard's plays. As in other recent efforts (Richard Loncraine's Richard III (1996), Michael Almereyda's Hamlet (2000)), Wright uses a distinctly postmodern context to extract related themes from the original work. Here, Wright reworks the brutal tragedy Macbeth, retaining its Elizabethan dialogue, but resituating the events within the arena of modern Australian gang violence. His Macbeth (Sam Worthington) is a drug baron and pimp, his Lady Macbeth a Valium-addicted, narcoleptic burnout and manipulator, his Duncan the head of Melbourne's criminal underground. Macbeth and Lady Macbeth murder Duncan in cold blood (framing the servants as responsible), but soon after Macbeth takes the throne, he is undone - and beheaded - by usurper Macduff. Like former adapter Roman Polanski, Wright ups the quotients of bloodletting, sadism, and underlying iciness. He filmed much of the picture with HD photography - thus capturing a broader range of imagery and a much blacker darkness in his nighttime sequences - and lit a pivotal action scene exclusively with red laser gun sights. The result is a thoroughly unique and unprecedented work. Nathan Southern, Rovi Hide synopsis

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