Thursday, January 19, 2012


Still from Coriolanus
If there's one Human Truth one can take away from Ralph Fiennes' directorial debut Coriolanus, it would be the importance of living your own life. The Action-Drama takes modern sensibility, edgy (albeit shaky) Cinematography, outstanding acting and delivers William Shakespeare's lesser-known Play with some bloody, violent gusto.

The Film centers on Coriolanus (Fiennes), a Roman General who at once is celebrated and loathed by his people.  Under the pressure of his controlling Mother Volumnia (Vanessa Redgrave), he is given little choice but to advance to the position of Consul.  After failing to win the hearts of Romans and thus their requisite votes, he reacts angrily and finally is banished from Rome. Coriolanus, leaves behind his beloved Mother, his Wife Virgilia (Jessica Chastain) and Son Martius (Harry Fenn) to form a shocking alliance with his Arch-Nemesis Aufidius (Gerard Butler).  Alas, our Hero's loyalties are tested to the extreme when his Family returns to confront him, but has Coriolanus reached the point of no return?

Point blank, Coriolanus isn't for everyone.  Some fans of Contemporary Cinema simply won't connect with John Logan's Screenplay, which faithfully is Shakespearean; this of course, bodes well for Enthusiasts. Some may even react queasily to the copious amount of violence seen on-screen, but in the end, the Film raises generates some interesting thoughts about Free Will, Betrayal and the cost of Ambition.

Fiennes is ferocious here, terrifying when he works himself into full-on rage and as a Director, he brings out some fantastic work from his Ensemble Cast.  Redgrave in particular is perfect as an overbearing Mother who is commanding, yet protective. There even are a few Oedipal moments in her embraces with Coriolanus himself (look above).  Chastain although seen less, is effective  illustrating Volumnia's unquestionable dominance and it is refreshing to see Butler take a risk here and stretch his range. One or two lingering moments late in the Film between himself and Fiennes might raise a few eyebrows on the true nature of Coriolanus and Aufidius' love/hate relationship. D Films releases Coriolanus on January 20, 2012.