The citizens of Rome are hungry. Coriolanus, the hero of Rome, a great soldier and a man of inflexible self-belief despises the people. His extreme views ignite a mass riot. Rome is bloody. Manipulated and out-maneuvered by politicians and even his own mother Volumnia, Coriolanus is banished from Rome. He offers his life or his services to his sworn enemy Tullus Aufidius. Written by
Although the characters wear present-day clothes, the film is set in ancient Rome. In the scene where Caius Martius tells his troops, "Make you a sword of me", you can see graffiti reading "Non illegitimi carborundum." This is mock-Latin and supposedly means, "Don't let the bastards grind you down." See more »
When the angry Roman mob marches to the grain depot, a camera crew are seen walking in front of them during a wide shot. This crew are part of the story, filming the protest for the Roman news, which the Volscians watch later on. See more »
Before we proceed any further, hear me speak. You are all resolved rather to die than to famish?
First, you know Caius Martius is chief enemy to the people.
We know it.
Let us kill him. And we'll have corn at our own price.
We are accounted poor citizens, the patricians of good. The leanness that afflicts us, the object of our misery, our suffering, is a gain to them.
Let us revenge this with our sticks, ere we become rakes.
No more talking on it. Come!
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I had the pleasure of seeing Ralph Fiennes's "Coriolanus" at the St. Louis International Film Festival, on Nov 11th, 2011. I was on the edge of my seat through the entire film. Needless to say, the filming, production values, etc., were fantastic; but it was the relevance of the film that kept me glued to the screen.
Ralph Fiennes captured the timeless concepts that Shakespeare expressed in his play brilliantly - so much so that I feel there will be strong/visceral audience reaction to the film's depiction of themes that reflect in today's front page stories.
The theme of a military officer's political role resonated with me as a retired Navy Officer. The theme of the contrast between "high society" and the proletariat resonates in the "Occupy XXX" protests occurring today. The conflict between liberal and conservative (dare I say Democrat vs. Republican) ideals played very loudly in this film. Even the issues in European politics reflected themes we see in today's news.
The acting by Ralph Fiennes, Vanessa Redgrave & Gerard Butler propelled the story and kept it moving swiftly. Some have panned the use of Shakespeare's original language. I, for one, had no trouble following the language. This film ranks with Kenneth Brannagh's "Henry V" and Baz Luhrmann's "William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet" for making a film in Shakespearean English accessible by 21st Century Man.
I've always believed that some folks in the U.S. malign William Shakespeare's writings today, because they were forced to read his plays in a cold classroom setting in their youth. Shakespeare didn't intend his works to be read. He meant them to be performed and watched. This film proves the power of a good telling of a Shakespeare tale.
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