Directed by Ralph Fiennes
Written by William Shakespeare, script by John Logan
Starring: Ralph Fiennes, Brian Cox, Gerald Butler, Vanessa Redgrave, Jessica Chastain

Sometimes you have to wonder just how difficult directing is when a novice director (Fiennes) comes out of the box with a film like this one. It doesn’t hurt to have great source material, a thrilling setting, or a terrific cast, of course. Neither does it hurt to direct yourself in the lead role.

PLOT: Although road signs insist this film is set in Rome, it is clear that Fiennes’ Rome is almost contemporary and the villages and fields we see are in the bleak landscape of a still decimated Bosnia. Caius Martius (Fiennes) is a man manipulated by his mother (Redgrave). She asks to see his wounds like other mothers might ask to see their son’s grades. The consequence of this attention is that the future Coriolanus is too much a warrior and too little a politician. Rome rejects him for his arrogance and indifference to their concerns, and he takes his revenge by joining forces with his former enemy, a Volscian, Tullus Aufidius (Butler) and brings Rome to its knees.

This is a lesser play of Shakespeare’s and certainly one of his bloodiest. Critics have compared this film to Hurt Locker and the comparison is apt. There is little beyond the battlefield for these men. Especially good were Redgrave and Brian Cox, playing a Roman Senator.

It is very hard to look beyond Redgrave’s marble face when she is on the screen. She is fearless.


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