Friday, May 25, 2012

Movie Review: Coriolanus - The Timelessness of a Shakespearian Tragedy

Coriolanus (2011) is a movie portraying Shakespeare’s last tragedy in modern setting. It confirms two things we all already knew, that Shakespeare’s plays are timeless, and that Ralph Fiennes is an incredible actor. In this case Ralph didn’t just play an amazing character, he also directed the movie.

Coriolanus has an interesting plot, in which the main character goes through a lot of suffering before the end. We expect nothing less from a play written by Shakespeare. It tells the story of a roman soldier, Caius Martius, who gets banished from Rome and joins up with his arch enemy, Tullus Aufidius (Gerard Butler), to take revenge. Caius Martius is a good soldier, who has served his nation well. However, he has a big temper and some radical ideas about ruling a nation, which eventually gets him banished. The banishment causes his anger to swell and makes him go as far as to join up with his sworn enemy. The story is set in a modern setting which reminds us of the Iraq War. The dialogue remains unchanged, which goes to show how timeless Shakespeare’s plays are.

The movie doesn’t just have a good plot and good acting, it also looks really good. We get to see some scenes where Ralph Fiennes is covered in blood and looks menacing and fearless, battling enemy after enemy and coming out victorious as if he could win the war by himself. But we are also offered scenes where the main character feels pain, discomfort, betrayal and anger. Ralph acts this out so well that we can actually feel the conflict happening inside Caius’ heart.

If you are familiar with Shakespearian plays, you know that he wrote for a very wide audience. He wrote complicated plots for the higher class, and added fighting and bloodshed as entertainment for the lower class. His plays usually ended with a stage full of dead people (Hamlet is a great example). Coriolanus is no exception to this rule. The ending scene contains a lot of death, and, although the plot makes it inevitable, it feels a bit out of place.

There aren’t a lot of bad things to say about this movie. It has a great plot, great acting and it looks great. Although the ending feels a bit out of place, it is completely justified by the plot. Shakespeare knew what he was doing, and clearly so does Ralph Fiennes.

Leave a comment with your thoughts on the review, or on the movie itself. I’d Love to hear what you have to say. If you have any movies you would like me to review, send me an e-mail at: 

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