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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Washington stars in Coen’s ‘Tragedy of Macbeth’

Dan Webster

Above: Denzel Washington and Frances McDormand star in Joel Coen's film "The Tragedy of Macbeth." (Photo/A24)

Some of the world’s greatest actors have played the title role what theater buffs call “the Scottish play.”

In other words, “Macbeth.”

David Garrick, Edmund Kean, Orson Welles, Ralph Richardson, Laurence Olivier, Ian McKellan … the list goes on. And now we have Denzel Washington.

Washington stars in “The Tragedy of Macbeth,” directed by Joel Coen and adapted from William Shakespeare’s original text. His co-stars include Frances McDormand as Lady Macbeth, Bertie Carvel as Banquo, Brendan Gleeson as Duncan and Corey Hawkins as Macduff.

The film opens in Spokane on Friday, following its premiere on Christmas day. It’ll likely play at some of the mainstream theaters, but for sure it’s scheduled to open at the Magic Lantern Theatre.

The film is making a number of best-of-2021 lists. And the reviews are nearly universally good.

Stephanie Zacharek of Time.com wrote, “I could see ‘The Tragedy of Macbeth’ becoming a favorite Shakespearean film adaptation, for those who rank such things. Watching it, I felt as if I were part of the audience seeing the play for the first time, from the pit.”

A.O. Scott of the New York Times wrote, “There is no comfort in Coen's vision, but his rigor – and Washington's vigor – are never less than exhilarating.”

Ann Hornaday of the Washington Post wrote, “The pursuit of power by any means necessary – and the moral injury that ensues – feels both ancient and urgently new, especially when it's animated by the artistry and acute intelligence on display here.”

Time for an updated version of “Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn, and cauldron bubble" – one with a distinct Coen look.

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