Coriolanus arrived quietly to the movie scene and now it is earning a huge buzz. Scheduled to be released on Friday January 20th 2012, Ralph Fiennes will bring audiences a new identity to Shakespeare’s Coriolanus. Folks are already itching with anticipation to watch Ralph Fiennes’ directing debut. At the same time, people all over the world are eager to see how he will define the character of the betrayed hero: Coriolanus in this drama film.
Here is a movie review by Manohla Dargis on Coriolanus:
“As soon as a thrilling Ralph Fiennes appears on “Coriolanus,” it’s clear why he chose this lesser-known Shakespeare tragedy for his directing debut. Dressed in camouflage fatigues, Mr. Fiennes — as the mythic Roman military hero first known as Caius Martius and later Coriolanus — enters a raucous scene and commands it with just a glare. What power! The city’s hungry, rioting citizens, some carrying protest signs and one holding a camera phone, have descended, demanding food. Martius charges at them and then lets loose the contempt that will aid in his downfall: “What’s the matter, you dissentious rogues, that, rubbing the poor itch of your opinion, make yourselves scabs?”
The voice is soft but insistent, the rage thunderous and the backdrop — war, famine, civil unrest — as familiar as the news. Like John Osborne’s 1970s version of the play, titled “A Place Calling Itself Rome” (which Mr. Fiennes gestures at early on), this is Shakespeare’s 17th-century tragedy as contemporary military story, if one that invokes Iraq and other modern theaters of war. And it works, partly because while the language remains Shakespeare’s, the rule of the mob, the political hypocrisies and the grinding of war’s engine transcend any age. Then, too, there’s the sheer pleasure of hearing these words spoken by an actor like Mr. Fiennes, whose phrasing is so brilliant that you might be tempted to close your eyes if his physical performance weren’t equally mesmerizing.
This adaptation, by John Logan, condenses and dispenses with sections of the original tragedy, one of Shakespeare’s Roman plays, coming in at a tight 122 minutes. At the story’s center are two violent twinned relationships, the first between Martius and the Roman citizens he despises (they “like nor peace nor war”), the second between Martius and his Volscian enemy, Tullus Aufidius (Gerard Butler), whom Martius openly admires: “I sin in envying his nobility.” Martius protects the citizens who are unlike him and fights the man who is most like him, the dangers of his attitude toward each suggested by the calls for his murder that bookend the play. This is part of his tragedy, as are the pride and disdain that lead him from the hero’s role to the monster’s.
Not long after the citizens storm the streets, Martius heads out to fight the Volscians. The possible scent of her son’s newly spilled blood sends Martius’s patriotic mother, Volumnia (Vanessa Redgrave), into raptures. Blood, she enthuses to Martius’s stunned wife, Virgilia (Jessica Chastain), “more becomes a man than gilt his trophy.”
It certainly becomes Mr. Fiennes’s fierce interpretation of Martius, his eyes shining in a face streaked in blood. Having created one brilliant villain with Voldemort in the Harry Potter series, Mr. Fiennes, his head shaved, summons up another by visually evoking the iconography of Marlon Brando’s in “Apocalypse Now.” Later, the character puts on a white shirt and suspenders, suggesting that the great Roman conqueror is nothing more than a common skinhead.”
You can read the full article at the New York Times
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