Sunday, November 13, 2011

AFI FEST 2011: William Shakespeare's "Coriolanus"

CORIOLANUS (2011) *** 122 mins. D: Ralph Fiennes. Ralph Fiennes, Gerard Butler, Vanessa Redgrave, Brian Cox.

After being banished by the city, Cauis Martius, a hero who gave everything he had to defend it, joins forces with his enemy Tullus Aufidius to exact his revenge on its people.

Based on William Shakespeare's play, the setting while "Rome" is a modern city caught in the midst of intense modern warfare. The new setting serves the story well.

Fiennes does a fine job in his directorial debut with a script by John Logan. Never losing the audience as the bard's words are spoken on screen. The only problem with the film are the performances, they are relatively uneven including Fiennes. Gerard Butler, a capable actor in the right vehicle feels like he's merely speaking the words when in quite soliloquies. However, when he's in full "Leonidas" mode the words have feeling. Fiennes delivers well but at times lacks feeling. The sole cast member that stepped up was Vanessa Redgrave. Every line, every word she performed had depth, had feeling. It's too bad the rest of the cast couldn't match her level.

It was a very good attempt at putting a new spin on Shakespeare, it's just unfortunate that some of the performances brought it down.

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