These quiet moments before the storm will prove few and far between in a story that sees Scottish tribal politics spill over into violent bloodletting. According to the film's official synopsis folio, this Macbeth is "a reimagining of what wartime must have been like for one of Shakespeare's most famous and compelling characters, a story of all-consuming passion and ambition set in war-torn medieval Scotland".
Expect elements of war film, then, as Fassbender's Macbeth, general in King Duncan's army, stumbles upon three women in the aftermath of battle. When several of their other predictions come true, he begins to wonder if they were on to something, and at the behest of his wife, decides to double down on the toil and trouble and engage in a spot of conspiracy and murder to take the throne. Predictably, life isn't quite so easy for someone who proves so lacking in the milk of human kindness.
Cotillard, of course, is Lady Macbeth, an arch politician with the scent of glory in her nostrils who does little to discourage her vain husband in his ambitions.
If you have experienced Kurzel's bleak, uneasy Snowtown (2011), it is easy to imagine the Australian as a perfect fit for the material. His research brief involved discovering what was that time like and how brutal it was. "It reminded me a lot of a Western," he expands in the press notes, "and of a landscape and atmosphere that felt much more dangerous than I'd ever seen before from adaptations of Macbeth".
Also aboard this new, and somewhat rough around the edges take on Macbeth, are David Thewlis (The Lady) as Duncan, Sean Harris (Freerunner) as Macduff, and Paddy Considine (Submarine) as Banquo. Macbeth will be premiering at the Cannes Film Festival before making its UK bow in October.