Adapted from Nikolai Leskov's 1865 book Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk, Lady Macbeth keeps the action in the same period but shifts the story from Russia to northern England.

It's a thematic reworking of the character from Shakespeare's famous play, although some might see more similarities with Charlize Theron's character in the 2003 thriller Monster.

This is a black widow story and Katherine is a femme fatale in the truest sense. Its investigation into a corrupt feminine power within an oppressive marital system renders the film dark and brooding and, at times, quite brutal ... but it's thrilling to behold.

It is one of those films where everyone is a nasty piece of work ... except the poor housemaid, Anna (Naomi Ackie), who finds herself in the middle of the hostilities and acts as the film's only form of moral compass.


Director William Oldroyd has breathed some fresh air to the staid old period drama, comfortably ratcheting mood and tension without any musical score.

There is plenty at play in Lady Macbeth's visual style, not least Katherine's character who is illustrated with an evocative use of camera and lighting which allows Pugh to work a commanding performance.

Her slightly unhinged portrayal is the perfect foil for this enthralling piece of psychological period cinema.


Florence Pugh, Cosmo Jarvis


William Oldroyd

Running time:

89 mins


R16 (Violence, offensive language & sex scenes)


Enthralling psychological period drama


When filming the original Kingsman: The Secret Service film a technical error saw the set flooded with water, leaving cast and crew struggling to escape the deluge. The scene was included in the final cut, with director Matthew Vaughn saying: "Those actors weren't acting, they were absolutely terrified."

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