Friday, August 04, 2017

Lady Macbeth

Lady Macbeth is not based on Shakespeare's Scottish Play. It is an adaption of a Russian novel (Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District) reset in rural Yorkshire. It is a Shakespearean style tragedy, where the protagonist takes action to escape from a bad situation but then feels forced into a series of increasingly worse actions culminating in their ultimate doom.

Katherine finds herself in an arranged marriage to colliery owner, who lives in a country house with his domineering father. She is dismayed to discover her husband is not interested in having sex with her, while her father-in-law blames her for the lack of a grandson. Both father and father-in-law command that she stay in doors despite her protestations that she likes fresh air. We are expected to sympathise with Katherine. Opportunity arrives when both her husband and father-in-law are away on business and she gets to meet the male outside staff and finds mutual action in Sebastian, the groom. The return of her father-in-law leads to the next fateful decision as Katherine asserts herself further. At some point we begin to question our initial sympathy!

Shot in a limited set of locations with high production values (except for an out of character staircase that gets repeatedly used) and with a smallish cast this feels a bit like a play rather than a film. There are a couple of weak plot points to be glossed over but overall while the pace is slow the action when it happens often packs a punch.

Ian's rating 3.5/5

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