Hit Me With Your Best Shot!: “Throne of Blood”


Call me morbid, but MacBeth is my favorite Shakespeare. Having just hit the 400th anniversary of his death, it seems appropriate to celebrate one of his most death-obsessed pieces of work, here with the bold reinterpretation done by Akira Kurosawa in Throne of Blood.

Kurosawa folds in elements of Noh theatre to a streamlined, brisk version of Shakespeare’s text, creating perhaps the stagiest adaptation of the Bard this side of Baz Luhrman. The Noh angle creates a more archetypal experience for the actors and the audience, somehow getting to the root of the original text in a way that more naturalistic adaptations by Roman Polanski and Justin Kurzel have missed. This “Scottish” king and his Lady M (Taketoki and Lady Asaji) are physical embodiments of their fury and calculations, the contrast between his brazen madness and her anxious guilt never more clearly defined on film.

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