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 Aufidius and his soldiers enter their base, all of the previously right-handed soldiers, including Aufidius, wear their thigh-mounted holsters on their left legs, indicating the shot has been flipped. 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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Coriolanus will have Shakespeare enthusiasts chomping-at-the-bit, students scrambling for the exits.
A modern-day spin on one of Shakespeare's lesser known plays, Coriolanus is an ambitious and lyrical Greek tragedy that has everything you'd expect from the mind of the Bard; betrayal, revenge, pride, conflict, monologues, dilemmas, death- it's all in there. The only thing missing is a star-crossed lover or two.
Both its star and director, Ralph Fiennes follows past masters Laurence Olivier and Kenneth Branagh onto the breach in this doomy and demanding directorial debut that may signal a new and exciting direction for the steely-eyed actor.
Set in a city on the verge of collapse that resembles Tripoli but calls itself Rome, the film charts the rise and fall of general Coriolanus (Fiennes); a fiery soldier of war-torn Rome who earns his stripes in a bloody battle against an insurgent army lead by Turrus (Gerard Butler). In the aftermath of a brutal bullet storm and knife fight, Coriolanus emerges victorious and is branded the symbol of a new and prosperous empire. It doesn't work out. The decorated vet is more brawn than brains; his strong sense of pride coupled with the dirty work of corrupt bureaucrats and advisors lead to civil unrest and, in turn, a verbal attack by Coriolanus' on the people of Rome which results in his banishment from the city. Bitter, betrayed and hell- bent on revenge, the spitting outlaw seeks refuge and redemption in who else but his sworn enemy, Turrus.
Swapping the frantic razzmatazz of Baz Lurhmann's Romeo and Juliet retool for a far more gritty and paced approach, Fiennes has crafted a brave and bombastic drama that'll probably find its way onto a school curriculum or two before the year is out. And why not. His contemporary vision of a 300+ year old morality play is one awash with thought, feeling, values, complexities, politics and emotion- pure, unadulterated Shakespeare.
Coriolanus is far from the vision of just one man, though. Gladiator screenwriter Josh Lucas lays the necessary footing for Fiennes and Hurt Locker cinematographer Barry Ackroyd to bring the tale to life. Stirling support also comes in the shape of seasoned thesps Brian cox, Vanessa Redgrave, James Nesbitt and....Gerard Butler; all of which are new to big-screen Shakespeare yet convincing nonetheless. Even Butler.
The screen belongs to a raw and rampant Ralph Fiennes, though. More than just a noseless sorcerer, Fiennes is an exceptional actor and, now, promising director whose verbose and gung-ho approach from both behind and in front of the lens makes for a fascinating commitment. "Such is the work of a man". Olivier and Branagh would be proud. Coriolanus will have Shakespeare enthusiasts chomping-at-the-bit, students scrambling for the exits.
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