Macbeth (Shakespeare Retold) (2005) (NTSC)

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Released 3-Jan-2007

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama None
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2005
Running Time 86:38
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Mark Brozel

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring James McAvoy
Keeley Hawes
Joseph Millson
Vincent Regan
Richard Armitage
Philip Whitchurch
Richard Ridings
Ralph Ineson
Charles Abomeli
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI $24.95 Music Kevin Sargent

Video (NTSC) Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (256Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 480i (NTSC)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    This recent BBC production sees Shakespeare's infamous "Scottish play" Macbeth re-imagined as a modern battle between London's top celebrity chef and his underlings. Joe Macbeth (A great performance from James McAvoy) leads the kitchen at one of London's top restaurants, alas all the glory goes to the "Executive Chef" Duncan - whose real involvement never extends further than popping on a white coat and greeting his happy customers. This all changes after three double-talking dustmen tell Joe and his pal Billy (nee Banquo) that Joe will rule the roost very soon, but Billy's kid will lead the restaurant for years to come. No sooner does Joe get home, than his wife (herself Maitre d' of the establishment) concocts a plot involving some Serbian illegal immigrants to eliminate Duncan. All seems well, rather sinister, until the deed drives the pair mad.

    This rendition of Macbeth stays fairly close to the plot of the original play, chopping (no pun intended!) only a handful of plot elements and short circuiting a couple more. The film plays up a number of sinister black-comedy elements of Shakespeare's original play and throws in a few more for good measure (particularly a good stab at Gordon Ramsey - OK, I did intend that pun). The tragic dramatic focus of the story remains fairly intact despite the added barbs.

    This adaptation is a bit of a mixed bag. The acting is generally very good and the screenplay is very clever, but it really struggles to cram everything into the sub-90 minute running time. The first half of the piece, Macbeth's rise to power, is brilliant, but many of the later plot elements are undercooked (ok, that's enough of the culinary gags!) and tend to hop about all over the place. Lady Macbeth's plight is the biggest disappointment as her guilt-ridden descent into madness is all but relegated to a couple of scenes. Given enough room for exposition this would have been a classic. The final result is still very enjoyable, but ultimately a little frustrating.

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Transfer Quality


    The video presentation is quite good for a telemovie. The film appears to have been shot digitally and is presented in a standard television 1.78:1 aspect ratio, 16x9 enhanced.

    The image is quite sharp, but suffers a mild level of low level noise and grain that is frequently seen in digitally produced features. The noise is never enough to be distracting in itself, but appears to contribute towards a mild level of noticeable macro blocking - especially in darker scenes. The macro blocking is never atrocious, but enough to lower the film to being a good transfer rather than a great one.

    The colour palette is very natural and consistent. Dark scenes generally have a very good level of detail, with one notable exception at 42:47 - one scene that appears to have been shot too darkly and had it's brightness level increased to the point that black appears to be a very dark grey and visibility is quite poor.

    White English subtitles for the hearing impaired are provided. They appear in good sync, based on the few minutes I sampled.

    This is a single layer disc, so there is no layer change to worry about.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    One English Dolby Digital 2.0 (256 Kbps) audio track is present, which is fairly standard for a British TV film.

    The dialogue is clearly discernable and well timed throughout. The music is quite reminiscent of many a Hitchcockian piano-based thriller score.

    There is plenty of prologic surround activity for a 2.0 score, mostly for the music and kitcheny noises. The subwoofer doesn't pick much up, but that's not a great surprise for this sort of film.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


    There are no extras.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    This adaptation of Macbeth is currently unavailable in Region 1. In Region 2 (UK) it is available in a box set that also contains the three other Shakespeare Retold adaptations from this series; The Taming Of The Shrew, Much Ado About Nothing and A Midsummer Night's Dream. Like this edition the set contains no extras, but at the time of writing it is quite cheap in comparison to the local releases if you wanted to purchase the full set of films.


    A very worthwhile adaptation of the classic play, but it falls apart towards the end.

    The video and audio presentation is quite good for a TV movie, but the discs is devoid of extras.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Adam Gould (Totally Biolicious!)
Saturday, April 07, 2007
Review Equipment
DVDLG V8824W, using S-Video output
DisplayLG 80cm 4x3 CRT. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderPioneer VSX-D512. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials.
AmplificationPioneer VSX-D512
Speakers150W DTX front speakers, and a 100W centre and 2 surrounds, 12 inch PSB Image 6i powered sub

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