Rating: Normally adaptations of the Bard's works live in an immense shadow, confined by the rigid structure of his plays and thus consisting mostly of lengthy dialogue exchanges across a handful of sets. This approach has admittedly led to some great films (just take a trip down Kenneth Branagh's filmography), but can also make it feel like we haven't moved on that much from drunken revellers watching then-contemporary productions in a pre-fire Globe. From the opening of Macbeth, Justin Kurzel makes clear that this is something different. There's a text crawl providing contextual information that moves up to reveal wide landscape shots of a barren, unforgiving Scotland bathed in mist as three figures drolly prophesie the future, followed by an action sequence epic in scale and breath-taking in its majesty. Slow-motion shots punctuate the visceral battle, highlighting blood spurts, sword swings and character screams. It does for Shakespeare what Saving Private Ryan's Omaha Beach opening did for World War II, making anything previous seem antiquated and no doubt setting a future tone (expect this film to spark into life a slew of other faithful tragedy adaptations). In some corners, losing a single "art thou" from Shakespeare's plays is disrespectful, but Kurzel gets both the broader story and what his film in particular is honing in on so that any of the changes work. The Scottish play has been cut down to a two hour runtime where dialogue-less action scenes punctuate the verbal confrontations, and yet it feels like a fully complete narrative, the play's five-act structure perfectly melded into three; this is a film that looks like a film and tells a film's story. There could have been some more scenes for Macduff, who slinks in the background until near the end, but to get too hung up on that would distract from the fact that this is a couple's story. You expect brilliance from Michael Fassbender as the Scot driven to kill his King by three witches and Marion Cotillard as his manipulative wife, and that's exactly what you get. Fassbender is Macbeth through and through, really selling the internal soliloquies, while Cotillard hides an unexpected hurt behind a stoic exterior. Interestingly, Lady Macbeth isn't as all-out evil as many adaptations depict her, an early sex scene paving the way for doubt, something that makes the story more complex as well as reaffirming the new, skewed take on the material. The presence of Fassbender and Cotillard, as well as more action-y bent, would suggest the film has some major box office potential, although the reliance on Shakespeare's prose, often mumbled in heavy Scottish accents, may make the story a bit incomprehensible for those who didn't study it in school. But that doesn't matter - it's a visual treat with much worth to it than just the script. That this film is at once so faithful (in case there was any doubt, Lady Macbeth commits suicide and Macduff kills Macbeth) and different shows that even four hundred years after his death there's still a depth to be explored in the world of William Shakespeare. Keep up with all of our Cannes 2015 coverage on the official page here.