Film review: “Lady Macbeth”

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Watching “Lady Macbeth” would no require brushing up on the Scottish-set play written by The Bard himself, William Shakespeare. This cold and dark period thriller set in the 19th Century rural northern England marks the filmmaking debut of British theater director William Oldroyd.

Adapted from the Nikolai Leskov’s Russian novella “Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District” by playwright Alice Birch, the film tells the story of a young bride (Florence Pugh) is sold into marriage to a wealthy landowner. Her husband (Paul Hilton) is a louse who is neglectful and abusive to his new bride. Alone in an isolated manor with her maid (Naomi Ackie), she throws herself into a passionate affair with a stable hand (Cosmo Jarvis). Things soon start to turn grim for the young lady when her dalliance with the stable hand is exposed. Bodies soon start to pile up as she seeks to do anything to make sure nothing gets in the way of her amorous relationship.

Macbeth

Newcomer Florence Pugh carries the film with an electric performance as a young woman who has been pushed to the limit while keeping a calm demeanor. As an endless parade of men bark, beat and dehumanize her, this lays the foundation for revenge that earns her the Shakespearian nickname. Oldroyd’s simplistic and minimal direction is not a hindrance, but more of an advantage for the film, especially when Pugh is on screen because her character’s unpredictable behavior can go either way including making a life-or-death decision.

“Lady Macbeth” is a Jane Austen story oozing with sexuality and death that is anchored by a mesmerizing and unforgettable performance from Pugh.

“Lady Macbeth” is now playing at AMC Aventura 24, The Classic Gateway Theater, The Landmark at Merrick Park 7 and Regal South Beach 18.

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