Coriolanus: Epic, Beautiful, Gritty, Painful, Fantastic

With intense eyes, and an unyielding stare, Ralph Fiennes plays Cais Martius Coriolanus. A powerful general of Rome and glorious victor of many battles. He returns triumphant, to Rome, a man above all. And yet, his flaws, drag him to the bottom. He betrays all, and yet, is brought back into the fold. An act that is ultimately his doom.

This movie is epic in scope and beautiful in moments. The actors bring such reality and yet theatrical gravity to each and every scene. There are so many actors who steal the scene away from Ralph Fiennes. The Mother – Vanessa Redgrave is splendid as the military mother, the woman who loves her son but sends him to fight for his nation, akin to Yue Fei’s Mom, but fiercer and vaguely more sinister. Jessica Chastain with her beautiful range, perfect timing, and looks that mean everything and nothing at once. Brian Cox is phenomenal, and is truly a fantastic shakesperean character. Even the “baddies” played by Gerard Butler and the “other baddies” are truly magnificent. Gerard Butler plays an interesting character, a rougher, less forgiving sort of baddie, who is ultimately an underdog in this fight, but at the same time, a real human being, with the vanities and disappointments of any human being. He plays his role with an aplomb thus far unknown and must ultimately be commended for his incredible subtlety in playing a loud and angry “villian”

Unlike his comedies and earlier work, this play never deals in the absolute. No one is sin free, and no one perfectly tragic or comic, making it a perfect work to survive the ages as a piece for our times. It is ironic of course that Coriolanus is one of Bill Shakespere’s least known works, next to such titans as The Tempest, Lear and Hamlet but with this movie, one hopes things will change and perhaps we shall see Coriolanus being played in more mainstream theatres, as a mature and reflective examination of humanity.

N.B The author has not read Coriolanus, and these opinions are purely from his viewing of the movie. 

4.5/5 Stars – An amazing movie with life, love, war, pain, hatred, reunion, all of life’s trials and tribulation in a neat package. I recommend this movie unreservedly.

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