Simply put, this is the best piece of filmmaking I've seen in years. I just had a good feel about it as soon as I watched the trailer and I expected a real cinematic experience. It's rare that a film exceeds my expectations these days, but this one did. The performances, production design, cinematography, editing & direction were all superb. Nothing was overdone and each element seamlessly fit together with the others like pieces of a puzzle.
I'd read that it had been shot on the Alexa XT Plus and this is definitely the most beautifully photographed film I've seen that had an entirely digital workflow. They used older Panavision C & E lenses (as well as the newer G-series lenses) which most likely gave the images their filmic quality. In my opinion, this is one film that definitely benefited from a digital workflow and it was evident in the way it was graded. Gorgeous imagery, especially in the battle scenes. I can't count how many shots there were in the film that I felt were painted with a very subtle brush of light. I wasn't very familiar with Adam Arkapaw's work until now, but he outdid himself on Macbeth. I appreciated the lack of secondary movement and the frames had a dynamic stillness to them reminiscent of Gordon Willis.
Ironically, The Weinstein Company was behind both Macbeth & The Hateful Eight and it's obvious which film they threw all of their marketing & publicity behind. And that's a real shame because Macbeth is a cinematic experience that deserves to be seen in the theater. In my opinion, The Hateful Eight will have to go very far to beat out Arkapaw's work on this film.
So if it's still playing in your area, see Macbeth on the big screen. It is visual storytelling at its finest.