Joel Coen’s “The Tragedy of Macbeth” is the first film he hasn’t directed with his equally celebrated brother, Ethan Coen.

Rather than feeling like a half a movie from only one of the most distinct and consistently brilliant filmmaking teams in America, Joel Coen’s film is a work of genius.

The story remains as William Shakespeare intended; It’s how the story is told that feels entirely new.

Denzel Washington plays Macbeth as a servant to King Duncan (played by Brendan Gleason) and tires of being overlooked. The prophecy of three witches (all played by Kathryn Hunter) reveals Macbeth to gain the throne. Through the counsel of Lady Macbeth (played by Frances McDormand) and a willingness to obtain power through murder most foul, Macbeth’s moral compromise sets in motion an ascendence in royalty, at the cost of his soul.

Visually, this resembles an early Orson…

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