Sunday 15 January 2012

Coriolanus review

Coriolanus (15, 123 mins)
Director: Ralph Fiennes
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

In a place calling itself Rome, General Caius Martius (Ralph Fiennes) is hated by the people, who are desperate for food. But when he defeats his great enemy Tullus Aufidius (Gerard Butler), he returns in triumph and is given the title Coriolanus. His subsequent decision to run for consul upsets a pair of scheming tribunes who conspire against him and this along with his inability to associate with the common people leads to his downfall. Though retaining and streamlining Shakespeare’s words, Fiennes, in his directing debut, has updated the setting to modern day Eastern Europe, which cleverly allows TV reports to do the exposition, and for allegorical parallels to be drawn. He delivers action that is visceral and gritty, with running gun battles in the streets and vicious close quarters combat, as well as giving a commanding, full blooded, performance. But the film’s failings lie with the Bard, in what simply isn’t one of his most accessible or interesting works, one in which the motivations of its central character are murky at best, if not downright annoying.

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