(15) 106min (Revolver DVD retail/rental)
There’s nothing particularly new about updating Shakespeare’s medieval Scottish tragedy to a modern criminal underworld setting - see the 1956 American mob movie Joe Macbeth - but Australian filmmaker Geoffrey Wright nevertheless makes a decent stab at drawing parallels between the feudal infighting of the original and the gangland wars that blighted his hometown Melbourne a few years ago.
Wright, who’s best known for his hard-hitting 1992 skinhead film Romper Stomper, piles on the violence, chops chunks of dialogue and shoots the action in a self-consciously stylish manner, all of which provides cinematic spectacle but ultimately little literary weight.
A leather jacket-clad, Uzi-wielding anti-hero and a trio of schoolgirl nymphet witches might look cool enough, but this effort to bring the Bard to a new audience is undermined by abridgements that underplay, for example, Macbeth’s relationship with his Lady. In any event, this post-modern Macbeth looks decidedly old-school compared with Baz Luhrmann’s far more inventive Romeo + Juliet. (Miles Fielder)