“Something wicked this way comes.” — William Shakespeare’s “The Tragedy of Macbeth”

Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard as Mac and Lady Mac, what could go wrong? Wait, Marion Cotillard as the supremely evil, sensual and most fearful woman in Shakespeare? Cate Blanchett comes immediately to mind or Robin Wright as the first lady in “House of Cards” which of course is our modern version, but the demure Cotillard?

As it turns out, she surprises us with a sweet and somewhat softer Lady Macbeth than we’ve seen before. With Cotillard, her dark thoughts are all in her eyes, but when push comes to cut, she’s all there.

Full disclosure: I had to go to the deepest rooms of my memory, recalling past versions, and not a few Google sites to refresh myself on the plot.

No one sleeps in Aussie director Justin Kurzel’s version. The film, truly a cinematic masterpiece, moves quickly, slushing through lakes of blood to fall softly into erotic sex as our Mac and Lady “their coitus make” as they plot in sexual whispers beneath huge crosses bathed in hypnotic red light. Do I have your attention now? It got mine.

This, scholars will complain, isn’t your mother’s or father’s “Macbeth.” We still get the traditional “Mac the Knife” who wins the day on the field of battle for old King Duncan (David Thewlis), writ large in Jacob Koskoff and Michael Lesslie’s screenplay but with none of that proper articulation we’ve grown used to from the likes of Sir Laurence Olivier or Kenneth Branagh.

The powerful Fassbender etches a sort of machismo Macbeth, giving us a muscular king, a body building butcher, as in one scene when still caked with battle’s blood and mayhem’s mud, he rises, Bond like, from an icy cleansing bath in a frigid Scottish lake.

Things go all afire when in an opening battle, the likes we’ve not seen since Akira Kurosawa’s “Throne of Blood” with Toshiro Mifune, heads and hands go flying.

The melange of Scottish, Irish and British accents muttered, shouted and screamed in various whoops and whispers requires dedicated attention and cupped hands behind ears.

Classicists will surely note with academic annoyance the shuffling about of important scenes in time and space. But for those of us lesser mortals, Kurzel gives us a parade of splendid, full-throated, blood letting battles of epic proportions.

Spoiler alert: The famous butchery of Duncan will spoil your dinner.

Not since Mel Gibson’s 1995 “Braveheart” have so many throats been cut, limbs severed or kidneys pierced, and never has it all been done in such stunning and brilliant cinematic sweep, thanks to the breathtaking camera work of cinematographer Adam Arkapaw. Give him his statue now and save time.

Arkapaw’s battle and murder scenes are breathtakingly filmed in blood brown and red light full of swirling orange smoke.

The burial of Macbeth’s first child and a few tender moments washed in windswept gray rain, set against Scottish mountain backdrops, each one a masterpiece, are suitable for framing.

And get ready for Kurzel’s three and a half witches who prophesied Macbeth’s ascent to the throne, here for the first time set in a gothic offering of simple barefoot mountain women and a small girl.

Fassbender once again enhances his reputation as a classic actor with few competitors in movieland. I can say no more. Cotillard as the ambitious Lady who fuels her lover’s paranoia wouldn’t be my choice, but we could do worse. Paddy Considine is a chilling Banquo, and David Thewlis stands fast and takes his murder with gusto. Australian director Kurzel is on his way.

“Macbeth'” wouldn’t be my choice for a Christmas movie, but it’s money better spent than on Seth Rogen in “The Night Before.” Just sayin’.

J.P. Devine is a former screen and film actor.

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