Coriolanus (Blu-ray + DVD)
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Fiennes is very, very good in this. His intensity blazes throughout, as a soldier's soldier and a man with little to connect him to the people outside of his comfort zone--aka the battlefield.
Vanessa Redgrave is, as always, compelling as Volumnia. She will definitely be up for some awards for this performance.
Just to comment on the first post made--
This movie is nothing at all like Luhrmann's Romeo and Juliet. Luhrmann's film was Shakespeare on acid [i very much liked that film as well]. This is something completely different. Simply labeling it 'a grown up R&J' does a disservice to Coriolanus. Just because it's modernized doesn't make it similar, at all.
It is Shakespeare, so for the first few minutes while you're getting used to the language it will throw you off. But the actors are so skilled in this film they make sense of the text for you, so you can understand and enjoy the use of Shakespeare's language. There are some wonderful soliloquies in the movie as well. If you don't like Shakespeare or you don't want to pay attention, don't see it, simple as that.
A lot of people have attempted modern, updated or anachronistic interpretations of Shakespeare's great works. While some have been fantastic, just as many have fallen short of their potential. It's really about finding the right contemporary setting in which to locate the piece. For my money, 1995's "Richard III" (headlined and scripted by Ian McKellen and set in war torn England during the second World War) is one of my all time favorites. Truthfully, I've read my share of Shakespeare but "Coriolanus" is not one of the plays I was familiar with--here it is adapted by three time Oscar nominated screenwriter John Logan. I think this probably serves Ralph Fiennes' interpretation quite well, it is not as overworked as other Shakespeare offerings. Fiennes takes the directorial reins and stars in "Coriolanus" and the result seems incredibly timely and powerful. With much of our world engaged in ongoing civil strife, this narrative plays to the identifiable concepts of government corruption, oppression and insurrection, and military coups and guerilla warfare. Seriously, it's as if it was written today! I guess some things never go out of style.
"Coriolanus" opens up as a Roman General (Fiennes) staves off the invading forces of an opposing army led by Gerald Butler. But Fiennes, despite his service, is not a beloved figure. Although he tries to abide by the needs of his advisers/allies (chiefly Brian Cox and James Nesbitt), his domineering mother (Vanessa Redgrave), and his faithful wife (Jessica Chastain), he seems unable to appease the demands of the oppressed masses.Read more ›
The formidable task of both directing and acting in a Shakespeare play has attracted previous talents such as Orson Welles ("Macbeth", "Othello") and Kenneth Branagh ("Hamlet", "Much Ado About Nothing") and the results have not always been positive. But Fiennes rises to the task, giving us a powerful and unrepentant Coriolanus even as he gets great performances from his cast and keeps the action moving.
Adapting Shakespeare to modern tastes is even more difficult that directing and acting in the play. The choice to place Ian McKellen's "Richard III" (1995) into a 1930s fascist world was not entirely successful, nor was Tim Blake's 2001 "O". OTOH, "West Side Story" was certainly a crowd pleaser even if it didn't stay true to the language, and Al Pacino's 1996 semi-documentary "Looking for Richard" was surprisingly good.
Coriolanus is one of the least popular of Shakespeare's plays and one that is rarely performed. Despite the exquisiteness of the language and the skewering of the mob and politicians alike, the central problem of the play is the lack of a hero to cheer for. Even the dourest of Shakespeare's histories and tragedies have someone to cheer for, but Coriolanus is distinctly lacking anyone worthy of sympathy among the first tier.
Fiennes is not the first person you'd think of to play the warrior general. His Oscar nominated performances in "The English Patient" (1996) and "Schindler's List" (1993) show none of the character traits Fiennes brings to bear in his powerful performance.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Ralph Fiennes directed and played the title role in this excellent, tight version of this late Shakespearean tragedy. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Stanley Crowe
Great acting and interesting take on Shakespeare. The story is a harsh one, but oddly universal.Published 2 months ago by Katherine Sima
A stirring interpretation of one of Shakespeare's most brutal plays. Don't watch the video thinking you can follow along in the text. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Pen Name
A very well done version of the Shakespeare play; of the same name. It is in Shakespearian language but understandable for the most part.Published 3 months ago by ronh
a Great way to take a glance to an important part of all the literature Shakespeare wrote. The movie was adapted to this time and it was nicely done.Published 4 months ago by Amazon Customer
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