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on 10 August 2015
A Shakespeare play in a modern setting, with a great pace and feel.
But it is Shakespeare, faithful dialogue, delivered with the attention to metre and tempo, so be prepared for that.
Coriolanus is one of those tragedies where the anti-hero has a message to deliver and a mirror to hold up to those fickle citizens that want multiple things from their war-heroes that changes from moment to moment. Men bred to war are seldom suitable for anything else...
There's no point singling out any actor in this, except perhaps for Vanessa Redgrave, who is mesmerising and so powerful as to own the screen every time she is on it. Stirring stuff.
The modern feel reflects the theme perfectly, the direction is well-paced and attentive to character and the action is full-on, so where it does serve as an illustration of war, it hits home.
One thing I would say is that the dialogue is hit and miss for volume: in all Shakespearian adaptations to the movies, the sound is a problem as those taking things to the big-screen take advantage of the huge range of potential delivery for dialogue that doesn't have to be 'heard at the back'. This means some of it can be a bit mumbly, a bit too low, straining to hear is a problem, especially when the language being used isn't that familiar. (And with regional accents being thrown in, it gets even more interesting! :)
But apart from that, a stirring effort. Really liked it, Congrats to Mr Fiennes and all involved. More please.
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on 6 May 2014
I loved this film!

Its one of Shakespeare's not-as-famous plays, but I have no idea why!!

The plot:
A famous general (Ralph Fiennes), wins a great victory over Rome's enemies (led by Gerard Butler), and is soon promoted to the Senate, but some of the Senators fear a dictatorship and scheme to have him removed. He eventually joins forces with his old enemies against Rome in revenge, before being stopped by the pleas of his family.

The reason why I like this one is that its modernisation is truly inspired. Whilst retaining the original language, the contemporary setting makes this a great story referring to political greed and the idea of war against minority governments.
James Nesbitt's turn as a plotting senator in the market place is one such scene, the impeachment scene re-shot as a TV debate is another.
My favourite scene though, has to be the initial battle scene, complete with explosions, a knife fight, and a bloodied Fiennes, which leads to my favourite line, delivered with great authority: The blood I drop is rather physical// Than dangerous to me: to Aufidius thus// I will appear, and fight... And then he leads his men back into the battle!!

Buy it, watch it, love it!
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on 2 January 2013
Shakespeare never ages and without doubt Ralph Fiennes proves that categorically - what an incredible 'eastern european' interpretation of this not so well known play. I studied this for my A Level English Literature and I've since seen Kenneth Brannah take the lead role too and although so different, both presentations were fabulous.
For me, it was a must for my collection.
Coriolanus lives - and Ralph Fiennes is amazing!
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on 29 September 2012
People who complain about this play being set in modern times are missing a vital fact about Shakespeare's work: He was writing to engage and entertain, not to be historically accurate. He sets Julius Cesar in Roman times, yet his soldiers yell "fire" in battle, the actors of the day often wore Elisabethan battledress, not togas, and they speak of the "clock striking"...long before Rome had striking clocks. If William were alive today, his actors would wear modern dress. There's nothing sacred about chainmail and doublets.

The film is a pared-down streamlined version of the play, which as Fiennes himself says in his commentary on the DVD, was done to get to the story and circumvent somewhat what he called "the density of the language." I found some of the camera work jittery and annoying, particularly when the jumpy scenes occur outside the context of media reporting. However, within the context of the production, it worked. I found it gripping, in that it made the brutality of war and rebellion a reality for the viewer. I have to say, I'm not used to getting adrenaline surges when watching Shakespeare, but it's a pleasant experience and the time flies by.

I studied Coriolanus at university and it was never one of my favourite Shakespeare plays. I never really got into the man's mind. However in this production it's plain that Coriolanus' arrogance and self-righteousness are his downfall; as someone once said: God deliver us from men who "know" they're right! After watching Fiennes' film you realise that Commander Coriolanus was never meant to engage our sympathy, as even MacBeth does in his downward spiral. There's a definite resonance with Shakespeare's "Julius Caesar" in several scenes.

Vanessa Redgrave gives a sterling performance as Volumnia, the she-wolf who whelped the dragon. You can definitely see where Sonny Boy got his pride. Their face-off is a wonderful piece of staging.
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on 21 August 2013
Yes, numerous commentators have already written how this films is strange. Yes, it is strange, to hear a tribe of skinheads snippers speak in the Shakespeare's style English .
Like that was already explained, an episode of the beginning of the classic archaic Republic Roman is transposed here, in a contemporary way in a war of the Balkans, and even more exactly during the massacres Serbian-Croatian of 1990s.
It is very explicitly said in the "bonus": the movie is shot in the suburb of Belgrade. Then, movie strange juxtapose long sequences of urban guerrilla e with the most modern weapons, terrorists in the look of snippers such as the images media were able to show them to us (the television with these bands written under the image plays a large part in the movie), other terrorists in skinheads' look, Roman people, in look of hobo, and armies dressed and armed as the television or the cinema was able to show us the American army in Iraq or to Parkistan
And all this already heterogeneous world in himself expresses himself with shakespeare's sentences. Curious cocktail. We could say that it quite rings false. And nevertheless the Shakespeare's style and the strength of play) of the actors (Fiennes, Butler, Redgrave, and the others) make that while believing in it not really, I was taken.
Then it would be easy to blame the movie for having mangled in shakespeare's text, as the hero cuts his enemies to make minced meat. We can blame it for the length of the scenes of battle, riots, slaughters, between which the spoken scenes would be only interludes. And however …
What is fascinating, it is the appetite of power, less of the "hero", that of her mother Volponia, (Vanessa Redgrave) who manipulates him totally in all directions and I would say, according to certain film frames, literally. What is fascinating, it is the link homophilia, not to say homosexual who exists between these me who exterminate with a sexual passion. Except for the "monstrous" mother, the transparent wife of Coriolanus, and a second-class rioting demonstrator-passionaria, there are no women in this movie in the tens of characters and in thousands of extras. We could say that if their mothers look like that of Coriolanus, we understand the reason of the wars. What is fascinating, it is the passion manslaughter of the human beings.
What did not change, it seems to me, since the beginning of the Roman republic , it is the way the men of political power (Coriolan is not one of those politician, he is a soldier) disdain the people, whatever it is, when they obtained the votes of vote them. What did not change, it is the demagoguery of certain politicians. On the other hand the passionate love in connection with the killing, had more sense when we killed " the enemy - partner of passion " with a bladed weapon, and when we did not fire with a firearm at an anonymous silhouette. Which is fascinating, it is the beauty, the correctness, the poetry of Shakespeare's sentences. Being French, I was lucky enough not to study Shakespeare in school, where each knows it, certain professors, are specialized to disgust you of the most sublime works

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on 20 September 2016
It's an interesting setting of Coriolanus, and worth seeing once, but I don't think it's perfect. The modern vaguely-Balkan locations work well. Jon Snow as a modern newsreader with original Shakespearean words is a bit jarring, as are the serious thesps kitted out with macho militaristic wardrobe & props. You also get to see Gerard Butler out-acted by his own facial hair.

It's a DVD in the standard packaging, plus some shrinkwrap; no surprises there.
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on 5 December 2014
I was hoping for more from the actors, but i feel it was probably directorial decisions which let the film down a bit - there were huge opportunities to tell an age old tale in a way which respected history, the text, and a modern understanding of the personal costs of warfare, but IMO most of them were not explored as well as the could have been and considering that Ralph Fiennes at the very least is capable of much better, you have to wonder why they bothered paying for talent if they were not going to use it...
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on 24 June 2014
This is a modern rendering of one of Shakespeare's lesser known tragedies, one that helps the viewer connect the moral issues raised in the play to our nowadays background. I found the choice to have Gerard Butler, in the role of the enemies' general, speak with Scottish accent a coup of genius as it contributes to convey the idea of 2 different nations colliding one against the other.
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on 10 December 2016
Great updated Shakespeare movie. Superb acting and direction by Ralph Fiennes. Cert 15
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on 9 May 2013
Really enjoyed this updating of a wonderful play. Necessarily abridged (the long speeches shortened on occasion to a few words - none the worse for that) and set in an apparently Balkan war (actually filmed in Serbia). The two protagonists, portrayed by Ralph Fiennes and Gerard Butler, are very good indeed, but Vanessa Redgrave is in a class of her own, astounding acting. Thought the ending flagged a bit, didn't bring out the full tragedy that has been brewing since the beginning, but that's a minor criticism. I certainly would recommend this for anyone who's avoided this play thinking it must be dull because it is produced so rarely.
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