Much like Julie Taymor's Titus and Baz Luhrmann's Romeo and Juliet updates, Fiennes' Coriolanus is a modern retelling of a Shakespeare play in which the setting is updated, leaving the plot and dialogue pretty much untouched. A lesser known Shakespeare play, Coriolanus is about a roman general whose war record and accomplishments speak for himself. Unapologetic about his wealth and accolades, he despises the people who he views as parasites. Manipulated by the politicians, the people turn against Coriolanus, banishing him from Rome. Losing all that he stood for, Coriolanus offers his services to his sworn enemy Aufidius, who intends on conquering Rome. Coriolanus is an interesting story that is definitely still prevalent today in its exploration of politics, corruption and war. Being that this is Ralph Fiennes directorial debut, I found that the direction often left something to be desired. For example, the gritty war sequences are decent but hardly measure up to most war films and honestly I wasn't fond of some of his decisions - particularly in how some of the sequences felt too staged. Ralph Fiennes and Venessa Redgrave are definitely the standouts from an acting standpoint, though as is typical for Shakespearean adaptions, I found there to be an overabundance of overacting, particularly from Fiennes. Coriolanus is a decent film that has some good ideas, but visually I didn't find it interesting enough unlike Taymor's Titus.
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