directed by Ralph Fiennes
I’m going to have to plead ignorance when it comes to William Shakespeare’s tragedy, having sacrificed experiencing it in school so that Hamlet and Macbeth could be dissected one more time. I’m sorry I have, because even going on the fragments that John Logan was able to contract into a pretty tense narrative, Coriolanus is a bruiser (T.S. Eliot once declared Coriolanus superior to such tragedies as Hamlet or Macbeth). There are a few elements of the general plot that don’t seem to work when modernized (Coriolanus getting banished by, essentially, a mob. A late and surprising plot twist that had me scratching my head), but I can forgive such trivialities in light of true venomous acting (thank you Ralph, Ms. Redgrave, and G Butler). Ralph Fiennes, putting on his director hat as well as his leading actor hat, opts for the uber-gritty and perhaps too frenetic camerawork in an attempt to give us a war ravaged Rome and the battle between social classes. Directing wise, it may have missed the mark a bit for me, but Fiennes and Gerard Butler kick some serious ass as blood enemies turned unconventional comrades. The film belongs to Vanessa Redgrave (the frightening mother of the exiled warrior) though, and she squeezes every ounce of blood out of her stony personae to chill your blood. Bravo all around, though I suspect that there was more to the original play that helped to flesh out various character arcs, plot points and the like, but Logan almost pulled it off.