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Review: Scotland, PA (2001)

Scotland, PA (2001)

Directed by: Billy Morrissette

Premise: An adaptation of Shakespeare’s Macbeth. In this version, Macbeth and his wife kill the owner of a restaurant chain.

What Works: The film is a surprisingly fun adaptation of one of Shakespeare’s darkest plays. It makes the story its own through humor and the film is able to successfully modernize the material. The film’s  primary strength is in its cast, including Maura Tierney as Mrs. Pat Macbeth and Christopher Walken as police Lieutenant McDuff. Although the film starts rather light it does get more intense as the MacBeth’s plight becomes darker.

What Doesn’t: The trick with these kinds of adaptations is to take elements of the original text and integrate them naturally into the new film’s storyline. Scotland, PA is mostly successful at this although some important elements of Shakespeare’s play are not transferred as well.

DVD extras: Commentary track, insider’s guide.

Bottom Line: Scotland, PA is both a fun adaptation of MacBeth and an entertaining murder mystery in its own right. Fans of modernized Shakespeare adaptations like 10 Things I Hate About You or of idiosyncratic humor will enjoy this film.

Episode: #54 (June 5, 2005)