Search

Review: Coriolanus

08:59 21 February 2012

Coriolanus

Coriolanus

Archant

For his directorial debut Ralph Fiennes has decided to do one of the more obscure Shakespeares, one for the completists. I like that because it means that this is that rare Shakespeare where I’m not the only person in the audience who doesn’t know what is going to happen.

It is very fine piece of filmmaking and, to my inexpert eyes, a very fine Shakespeare production – though the two halves never quite come to an understanding.

Caius Martius (Fiennes) is the outstanding Roman warrior of his time but he is also brusque, haughty and openly dismissive of the common people.

When, on his mother’s (Vanessa Redgrave) promptings he seeks political office he refuses to play the game and curb his forthright opinions: he’s a fascist but hey, at least he’s honest about it.

Everywhere he goes he finds himself harangued by the same select rent-a-mob and eventually it gets the better of him.

Fiennes sets this tale of treachery and ancient Roman political duplicity in modern day Serbia and works hard at making it cinematic.

Although it’s altogether far more sombre, there’s just as much zest and invention as in Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo+Juliet.

A closer parallel though might be Sir Ian McKellen’s Nazi version of Richard III.

It’s a bloody, vibrant vision. Fiennes is outstanding as the man who will become Coriolanus, staring out like a psychotic Womble.

A lot of his dialogue is erudite cumonthens and lezbeavingyas which make him resemble a Danny Dyer who’s swallowed a Thesaurus. The film is shot like it is news footage with people in the crowd straining to record events on their iPhones.

The more the film tries to make Shakespeare cutting edge and relevant, the more dry and academic it becomes.

The delivery has been moulded to seem more like contemporary speech. But then just as a riot is about to erupt suddenly everything will stop for someone to delivery a soliloquy.

The film is dressed up in combat gear that ultimately it can’t quite fill.

CORIOLANUS (15)

Director: Ralph Fiennes

Starring Ralph Fiennes, Gerald Butler, Vanessa Redgrave, Brian Cox, Jessica Chastain, James Nesbitt

Length: 123 Mins

***

0 comments

Other events

Yesterday, 11:43
Cycling Events 2016: Tour de Norfolk, NNUH Tour Sportive and Tour de Broads. (L-R)

Looking for a cycling challenge to take on? Here’s a look at some of the events taking place in Norfolk over the next few months.

Thursday, April 21, 2016
Queen Elizabeth II  celebrates her 90th birthday on April 21 and lots of events are being held across the region. Photo: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire

Below is a list of everything happening in Norfolk on Thursday April 21 to celebrate the Queen’s 90th birthday.

Friday, April 15, 2016
Cast of fEast Theatre’s Winter 53

Winter 53, the third play in Rob John’s Norfolk trilogy, begins touring, Jacqui Dankworth sings Shakespeare and there is comedy, music, art and Northern Ballet’s Swan Lake. SIMON PARKIN picks seven cultural highlights not to miss this week.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016
Ted Bateman at home at Thetford with Jax his Alsatian cross. Widower Ted has appeared on the Channel 4 TV programme First Dates. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

As many older single people would doubtless tell you, finding a partner is not just a game for the young.

Most Read

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 11°C

min temp: 3°C

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Wymondham and Attleborough Mercury e-edition today E-edition
HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Newsletter Sign Up