One of the surefire heavy hitters of awards season is The Tragedy of Macbeth, a new adaptation of the Scottish play from Joel Coen (working for the first time in his career without his brother, Ethan). Starring Denzel Washington and Frances McDormand, we now have our first, brief, look at the film, and of course it looks very beautiful and Shakespearian. Shot in black and white by Bruno Delbonnel, who has previously worked with the Coens on The Ballad of Buster Scruggs and Inside Llewyn Davis, but who also lensed Amelie, an immortal achievement, Tragedy has a very plush look to it, as you would expect, given the film’s pedigree. Besides the presence of Denzel, Delbonnel, and prestige power couple Coen and McDormand, Tragedy is scored by Carter Burwell, with costume designs by Mary Zophres, editing by Ari Aster’s go-to collaborator, Lucian Johnston, and the whole thing is presented by A24, one of the few production companies to have its own fanbase (along with Laika and Marvel).
The trailer is not even a minute long, because this story and these people hardly need an introduction. It’s just beautiful shots of Denzel, Franny McD, and Brendan Gleeson while Kathryn Hunter (who played Arabella Figg in the Harry Potter movies) intones the Witches’ famous line: By the pricking of my thumbs/Something wicked this way comes. I quote that line all the time, and I appreciate putting it in the trailer and not, say, “Out, damned spot,” or the Witches’ other, more famous line, “Double, double toil and trouble”. The Tragedy of Macbeth will open the New York Film Festival this Friday, then close the London Film Festival in October. Expect it to be a major contender as soon as it arrives.