2 Best Movies to Watch by Alex Hassell

Staff & contributors

Joel Coen's minimalist vision of the Scottish play emphasizes that these monstrous acts of hubris and violence are carried out not because of madness or magical prophecy, but out of the rational yet selfish decisions made by grown adults. It's a distinctly character-focused interpretation of Shakespeare that should be insightful for students and fans alike, as Denzel Washington and Frances McDormand lend more sedate performances to what have become two of the grandest characters in theater history. The Tragedy of Macbeth weaken the impact of some of Shakespeare's most famous soliloquies due to the film's more hurried runtime, but it makes for a great tribute nonetheless. Come for the stunningly lit black-and-white sets, stay for the gleefully creepy performance by Kathryn Hunter as the three witches.

Genre: Drama, Fantasy, War

Actor: Alex Hassell, Bertie Carvel, Brendan Gleeson, Brian Thompson, Corey Hawkins, Denzel Washington, Ethan Hutchison, Frances McDormand, Harry Melling, Jacob McCarthy, James Udom, Jefferson Mays, Kathryn Hunter, Kayden Alexander Koshelev, Lucas Barker, Matt Helm, Max Baker, Miles Anderson, Moses Ingram, Nancy Daly, Olivia Washington, Peter Janov, Ralph Ineson, Richard Short, Robert Gilbert, Scott Subiono, Sean Patrick Thomas, Stephen Root, Susan James Berger, Wayne T. Carr

Director: Joel Coen

Locked In is the latest in a long line of B-movie psychological thrillers that seem to place much more importance on the kind of twisty structures they can pull off, rather than the actual content of their stories. Formal experimentation is just as valuable of course, but when a story like this—that relies on the shock of how these various character relationships turn against each other—can't give us characters with any sort of real interiority, the flashback-heavy narrative just begins to seem like unnecessary noise. Trying to keep up with basic emotional beats shouldn't be this complex, and after a while you begin to realize that these people are simply doing things outside any proper context, suspended in a world with no weight or specificity.

Genre: Thriller

Actor: Alex Hassell, Anna Friel, Famke Janssen, Finn Cole, Karl Collins, Rose Williams

Director: Nour Wazzi

Rating: R