Lady Macbeth is the second really good film I’ve seen this year (the first being Graduation). Logan is very good in many ways and falls just behind in what has been a rather interesting year for movies. For starters, I can see these three movies being in my top 20 films of the year. Similar to The Witch last year, an early release movie (Graduation) has got me smitten with love. And now, there’s a second one. Lady Macbeth isn’t just impeccably shot and acted that every scene is charged with equal amounts of subtle tension and arresting imagery. With a penchant for combining pockets of darkness and hope/sympathy, the events which unfold before our eyes have a juxtaposing and uncomfortable effect.
We loathe to see our protagonist trapped in chains,yet,loathe to see that her attempts at freedom produce results teetering on the edge of chaos. And if you’re like me, you’ll watch the film through a vicarious lens…as if we’re rooting for our protagonist to shepherd through the valley of darkness, only to concede that it’s the world that’s evil and selfish. In a subversive manner (not unlike The Witch), Lady Macbeth’s unyielding and haunting nature subverts notions of darkness and pessimism and transforms, unsettlingly, into something resounding. We all know the world is far from perfect. And sometimes, even our best springs from the roots of the damned.
Set in the misogynistic era of treating women and wives as property, freedom is a thing unheard of. Bearing a rebellious streak from the beginning of the film, we see that our protagonist is not going to take the injustice lying down. Her little smirks and remarks and attempts to control various parts of her schedule grows to sleeping with another man when her husband is away. The desperation at regaining control of her life is pathetic but brave. And from little things which snowball into bolder attempts to break free, the film does a great job connecting us with her stifling imprisonment. From claustrophobic shots of contained tension to the chilling silence of the inevitable to the troubling anticipation of the unseen, William Oldroyd’s build-up at every turn is terrifying.
Some may call it a feminist film. And it may well and truly be. But I think the main point of the film is a deconstruction of another ideal; Morality. Because we know that Lady Macbeth fighting for her freedom is doing right by us and the ideal of equality. And we want her to fight for it, we want her to succeed. And at the end, you have to ask yourself whether you’re willing to stand by what she has done. And if you still do (or don’t anymore), what does it say about you? More importantly, what does it say about the nature of morality in twisted and unforgiving circumstances. The many provocative questions that challenge our established rules of morality is artfully and shockingly examined here. But Lady Macbeth may be trying to say that the question isn’t even about right or wrong. It’s not a cheesy one-liner you see in other films about how it’s all about power.Lady Macbeth crafts an entire journey that examines the brutal nilhilsm of the world and all the power that keeps us in chains…and proposes,instead,that it is in fact those who are able to set themselves free that could be the moral victory for the oppressed.
9.5/10 Thought-provoking and haunting. Florence Pugh, Cosmo Jarvis and Naomie Ackie were so good.