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:: Coriolanus

Sometimes updating Shakespeare for the kiddies can work, sometimes it fails miserably. Sadly, the latter is what happens with Coriolanus. There are good parts, but mainly the film lags and the audience’s concentration is lost.

For those not familiar with Shakespeare’s story basically the filmmakers here have taken the original and set it during modern times. Caius Martius Coriolanus (Ralph Fiennes) is the hero of the Rome’s leaders and Tullus Aufidius (Gerard Butler) is the hero of the people. But no matter how many he tries Aufidius just can’t lead his band of rebels to a victory over Coriolanus.

Much to the happiness of his mother, Volumnia (Vanessa Redgrave) and his wife, Virgilia (Jessica Chastain) it is decided that Coriolanus should be made a politician. But this raises the wrath of leaders such as Brutus (Paul Jesson) and Sicinius (James Nesbitt) and the people because of his extreme beliefs. This results in Coriolanus in being banished from Rome. But instead of going into hiding he seeks out Aufidius and decides to attack Rome with him.

The first thing you learn with this film is that Ralph Fiennes does have the ability to direct. Early on the war scenes look sensational but Fiennes really needed to have someone around him while making this film that had some experience. Sure scenes look great but many go for too long and Fiennes does nothing to make some of the longer speeches bearable for a cinema audience (think Volumnia’s lengthy dialogue). If these had been brought into line this could have been a sensational film.

It is a shame that the film is dragged down by such things because acting-wise this film is top notch. Fiennes as you would expect is at the top of his game and he is well supported by Redgrave who seems to relish in delivering some of the Bard’s finest works. Gerard Butler at times seems lost in the film but ultimately holds his own amongst actors who are well and truly above his caliber. The big winner however is James Nesbitt who steals each scene he is in. He once again reminds people that he is just as good on the big screen as he is on the small.

Unfortunately Coriolanus is really only for the hardened Shakespeare fans. Fiennes tries really hard but sadly just doesn’t pull off this story on the big screen… still he is a director to watch.