THE TRAGEDY OF MACBETH – Review by T. J. Callahan

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Director Joel Coen goes solo as helmer for the first time with a stripped down version of Shakespeare in The Tragedy of Macbeth, starring his Oscar winning wife, Frances McDormand, and fellow Oscar winner, Denzel Washington as the Lady and Lord of the castle. This is still the classic tale of the want-to-be Scottish King as it is told cinematically with black and white film capturing the strong images presented as a realm of the muted values of stark sets. The dialogue may as well have been muted too because I didn’t understand a word the actors were saying. I don’t speak Shakespeare. The real Tragedy of this Macbeth is that there were no subtitles.

Coen shot the film in just 36 days — in much the same way the Bard might have done it with all of the action filmed completely on a sound stage — but Coen was still able to fully convey the bleak tension and disquiet of the times through dramatic lighting that cast deep and ominous shadows, and through the film’s eerie and deeply discomforting score by Carter Burwell.

If only the Thane’s reign
were better explained,
listening wouldn’t
have been so strained
and I wouldn’t complain.
Double, double toil and trouble;
Following this Tragedy of Mabeth
was quite the struggle.

See The Tragedy of Macbeth in select theaters and on Apple TV starting on January 14th

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T. J. Callahan

Longtime Houston radio personality, T.J. Callahan switched gears from traffic and news reporting as a member of the award winning Hudson and Harrigan Show on KILT to directing you to the right movie theatre as the resident film critic for The Sam Malone Show on AM 1070 The Answer in Houston. Since 2009, T.J. has exclusively critiqued premiering films on such stations as KRMD in Shreveport, La., KILT in Houston, WCKT in Sarasota, Fla., as well as on The Chris X Blayney Show on The Liberty Eagle Radio Network and streaming on Radio Brave. Entertaining and informative, T.J. gets right to the point and lets you know whether the latest epic is worth your time. Listen to her live every Thursday morning at 9:20 central on KNTH. T.J. is also a proud member of the Critics Choice Association, the Houston Film Critics Society and a board member and 2017 inductee to the Texas Radio Hall of Fame.