This is why all Shakespearean plays have to be seen to be understood – and believed.
A massive tour-de-force by Ralph Fiennes (better known as Voldemort from the long-running Harry Potter series) in his directorial debut. He plays the eponymous Coriolanus; a brilliant, but ultimately flawed Roman general in a tale of the dangers of elitism at the highest echelons of government.
What I liked best about it
That it was a parable equally applicable to modern times as it was then (to say nothing of the period in which it was set), and wonderfully updated to reflect that. Both the medium and the message receive a solid 5-star rating – not least because it’s Shakespeare, but also because it’s a thoroughly illuminating piece through which the zeitgeist of the times is perfectly viewed. A most refreshing perspective amidst the generic cut-and-dried attempts at being edgy (think Lions for Lambs and State of Play – to be fair, excellent movies in their own right); if anything, it really goes to show how much history tends to repeat itself in spite of our attempts to forestall it.
What I did not like
The stilted Old English of the 17th century seemed rather incongruous with the modern uniforms and weaponry; while the script could have received an equivalent update, I do suppose it would have lost some of the magic of the obfuscatingly beautiful Shakespearean script. The acting went a long way towards helping understanding – even if some of the things they said were remarkably hilarious or did not make any sense whatsoever at times – and it only served to show that the Bard was a true genius beyond repute when it came to art.
What I felt genuinely happy about
That it was a rare gem I plucked off the shelf at the rental store on a whim after I couldn’t find the movies I was hoping to watch. I really should do this more often.