I chose to view the Orson Welles and Roman Polanski versions of Macbeth. They are both very different interpretations of the same story. Not only because they were made almost 30 years apart, but also because of a few choices both directors made that virtually shaped the way Macbeth is portrayed as a character and as a story. I basically disagree with most of the reviews that I have obtained for a variety of reasons. I had trouble finding reviews written at the time of the release, but never the less they are still reviews that are widely read.
I had seen Polanski's version in high school a few years back, but decided to watch it again from a more critical and educated standpoint. I found the film to be very violent both then and upon watching it again found myself closing my eyes at the same points. This is not a criticism of the film, but an observation.
I believe that Macbeth is a violent story, so I agree that most of the violence was necessary. I think that the sets and special effects were amazing. Obviously this was a higher budget film, unlike Welles's version that was made with very little money according to my reviews. I also found the acting to be amazing. Macbeth, played by Jon Finch had so much depth and strength to it. There are so many layers to Macbeth throughout the play and we see an enormous transformation from the beginning to the end. This was done brilliantly. According to one of my reviews by Mr. Wokelstein, a well-known critic, he says,
"Polanski conjures up little passion or energy, or even a degree of empathy in his film. It gets to the point where Macbeth becomes a supporting player in his own play.