This is a film adaptation of William Shakespeare's (1564 to 1616) play of the same name, written circa 1608. (The play itself was written during Shakespeare's greatest period, 1599 to 1608). This movie is also the directorial debut of actor Ralph Fiennes (who also co-produced).
Even though this movie is based on a "Roman" or "political" play, serious viewers will discover that it so much more. I found that it stayed with me long after I saw it.
This movie is set in a modern day version of Rome. It is essentially the story of warrior Caius Marcius (note that his last name is derived from the Roman god of war), later Caius Marcius Coriolanus, whose honour, pride, and sense of social rank essentially dominates his life and interferes with his ability to function effectively when he's not on the battlefield.
One of the great attributes of this movie and the play is that it does not have many characters and thus is easy to follow. The major characters are as follows:
(1) Caius Marcius Coriolanus (Ralph Fiennes): a valiant warrior and patrician (nobleman) with a non-overbearing wife. "A soldier to Cato's wish" and a modest hero who "hath deserved worthily of his country" but who lacks tact and refuses to placate "the mutable, rank-scented many."
(2) Volumnia (Vanessa Redgrave): his overbearing mother. "In anger, Juno-like."
(3) Menenius Agrippa (Brian Cox): "a humorous patrician" and an old and true friend of Coriolanus who is trusted by the plebeians (lower class).
(4) Comenius (John Kani): a fellow general of Coriolanus.
(5) Sicinius (James Nesbitt) and Brutus (Paul Jesson): tribunes or representatives of the common people or plebians and Coriolanus' political enemies. "A pair of strange ones."
(6) Tullus Aufidius (Gerard Butler): general of Rome's enemies and rival in glory to Coriolanus.
This movie is "visceral and visually stunning." (It was filmed in Serbia, Montenegro, and the UK.) I found that the background music added to each scene.
All actors do good jobs in their roles but I have to give special kudos to both Ralph Fiennes and Vanessa Redgrave for their exceptional performances.
For those that may have difficulty with Elizabethan language, I would recommend first reading a plot outline of the actual play in order to get the full impact of this movie.
The actual DVD (the one released in 2012) has two worthy extras.
Finally, this is the only movie version of this play that I am aware of.
This movie is a worthy addition to the Bard's cinematic canon.
(2011; 2 hr excluding end credits; wide screen; 18 scenes; rated "R")
<<Stephen PLETKO, London, Ontario, Canada>>