The recent crop of movies has thrown up an interesting experience for me. I took the opportunity to see both The Tragedy of Macbeth and The Matrix Resurrections. I have seen several productions of the play and watched the trilogy many times over. Indeed, I would go so far as to say that Macbeth is my favourite Shakespeare play. The Matrix is one of my favourite films of all time.
The stories are set at opposite ends of the timescale with Macbeth in 11th Century Scotland. The Matrix films are set in a future world, some time after the 22nd Century. However, I see both as tales which relate to the human condition in today’s world.
There are mysterious forces at work. Macbeth’s witches inhabit a supernatural realm that has echoes of the unconscious world of the Matrix, created by the machines.
The antagonists, played by Denzil Washington and Keanu Reeves, descend into dark places that are brilliantly realised by the superb cinematography. The film scores that envelop us give life to their bleak environments. Frances McDormand and Carrie-Anne Moss both play central roles magnificently well too.
The directors, Joel Coen and Lana Wachowski have created these audacious spectacles as solo projects. Ethan and Lilly have previously worked with their siblings but are now focused on other collaborations.
Ultimately, the conflicts (which are regular tenants of movies) boil down to a struggle between good and evil. The resolutions in death and glory are gratifying at a base level.
Obviously, these are not original films. The previous Matrix trilogy has been extended to a quadruplet. The play can be watched in many versions with offerings on both large and small screens. Three to watch would be the 1948, 1971 and 2015 productions. These are notable for the involvement of Orson Welles, Roman Polanski and Michael Fassbender respectively.
The most significant difference is in the emotional journey while in the cinema: from expectation, through fulfillment, to satisfaction. The film that gave me this in buckets was of The Scottish Play. For the other, I can understand that this may be a reinterpretation with an emphasis on gender equality. However, I could not see how this fitted in with the trilogy. I remain confused … and a little dazed!