Lady Macbeth stars Florence Plugh, Cosmo Jarvis and Naomi Ackie based on the novel Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District by Nikolai Leskov. The film is directed by William Oldroyd and produced by Fodhla Cronin O’Reilly with a screenplay penned by Alice Birch.
Lady Macbeth follows Katherine (Plugh), a young woman who has married into a loveless marriage. She’s a kind of free spirit contained by this contract to just produce an heir for her horrible father in law. One day she meets Sebastian (Jarvis) a new groomsman and something primal stirs in her. There is a dangerous edge to Katherine and being cooped up is making her yearn to satisfy that dangerous desire. Lady Macbeth is a wonderfully atmospheric film. The mood and the temperature of the movie are so chilling and murky that at times your skin will crawl when bad things happen to good people. Though there are few good people in Lady Macbeth.
Katherine is not a typical heroine, what she desires is paramount to her and takes precedence over everything else, and it’s rarely for the right reasons. At the beginning of Lady Macbeth, there is a glimmer of humanity within Katherine, but it’s snuffed out swiftly setting up the journey of her character expertly. Katherine’s foil in Lady Macbeth is Anna (Ackie), a mouse of a girl who must contend with the seemingly unstoppable and frightening force that is Katherine and her story is equally as treacherous as Katherine’s and even more tragic.
The performances in Lady Macbeth are impressive across the board. Florence Plugh is brilliant, and she brings such a fascinating and destructive presence to her performance. It’s incredible that I was intimidated by such a diminutive figure is quite an achievement. Along with Plugh Cosmo Jarvis brings a charming brutality to the mix. He’s affable, loving but there is a kind of darkness to him. They make a disturbing power couple. There is also an incredible level of brutality at times that showcases how monstrous the players in this game can be.
There is also an astounding level of brutality at times that showcases how monstrous the players in this game can be. This brutality is never overused or exploited it only elevates the impact of particular scenes. The cinematography and score are also exceptional knowing when to push the right buttons to invoke the appropriate response in its audience. This is all thanks to the wonderful partnership between director William Oldroyd and producer Fodhla Cronin O’Reilly who masterfully weave emotional moments that leave lasting impressions.
Lady Macbeth is a film about the power of love. Unlike most films however it deals with the destructive nature that can come with it. I’ve personally never seen such a monstrous display of affection told in such a titillating fashion. The director, cast, and crew are to be commended for such a unique and impossibly moving film.
Lady Macbeth is out this week in cinemas and I highly recommend seeing this film. You won’t regret it.