‘Coriolanus’ Trailer Combines Gritty Warfare & Shakespeare

Published 2 years ago by , Updated February 15th, 2014 at 8:47 pm,

Ralph Fiennes in the Coriolanus trailer Coriolanus Trailer Combines Gritty Warfare & Shakespeare

Shakespearean adaptations that set the Bard’s plays in a contemporary setting with the classical dialogue, tend to divide moviegoers with respect to how well the approach works (see: reactions to Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet or Michael Almereyda’s Hamlet).

First-time director Ralph Fiennes is bringing one of the famous playwright’s more controversial works, Coriolanus, to life in a similar fashion. Judging by the UK trailer for the film, does the Oscar-nominee look to have done justice to the original stage drama?

The answer is… yes, actually. Fiennes recruited director of photography Barry Ackroyd and camera operator Oliver Driscoll (The Hurt Locker, Green Zone) in order to visually realize Shakespeare’s Coriolanus as a gritty modern-day tale of war. Going off the early footage shown in the international theatrical preview, that trio looks to have transformed the play into  a viscerally engaging action-drama.

Here is an official synopsis for the Coriolanus adaptation:

Coriolanus (Ralph Fiennes), a hero of Rome, is a great soldier but despises the people. His extreme views ignite a mass riot and he is banished from Rome.  Coriolanus allies with a sworn enemy (Gerard Butler) to take his revenge on the city. As director and star, Ralph Fiennes brings William Shakespeare’s visceral history play to the big screen for the first time. Coriolanus is a drama for the ages, a commentary on the precarious draw of war and an auspicious directorial debut from one of the world’s great classical actor.

Now check out the UK trailer for Coriolanus (via CC2K) below:

Fiennes rarely delivers anything but a powerful performance and he has the sort of gravitas to make Coriolanus an empathetic yet morally dubious figure. Butler is at his best when he’s playing rugged soldiers (and not appearing in lame rom-coms), so he should do well as Coriolanus’ frenemy, Tullus Aufidius. With the supporting cast being rounded out by older stars like Oscar-winner Vanessa Redgrave and Brian Cox (always a plus), charismatic character actor James Nesbitt (The Hobbit), and Tree of Life starlet Jessica Chastain, Coriolanus as a whole should be great, on the acting front. That’s good news, considering the characters will all have to convincingly speak with a Shakespearean tongue.

While Coriolanus is not one of The Bard’s best known works, it’s definitely one that’s all the more relevant in this day and age. The original play addresses issues concerning the relevancy of democracy and what role it plays in times of war and violence. So, assuming you can handle the fact that its stars won’t be speaking or cursing in everyday English, that’s all the more reason for everyone to give this potential awards contender a look.

Coriolanus is slated for theatrical release in the U.S. on December 2nd, 2011. It will hit theaters in the U.K. on January 20th, 2012.

Source: Lionsgate (via CC2K)

TAGS: coriolanus

11 Comments

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  1. Links down

    • Should be back up – for now.

  2. I’m in!

  3. Oh….

    ….WOW…

    Although a Big fan of of Shakespears original works, this seems to have kept the dialogue where needed yet refreshed it and it fits well in the trailer with the modern setting.

    Based on the trailer, I’m up for watching this.

  4. Hmm…not appealing to me. I’m not a fan of Gerard Butler and sometimes Ralph Fiennes has this smugness about him that I can’t shake.

  5. A movie that will make you think? *GASP* Im in.

  6. I am definitely IN as well

  7. Interest aroused here, definitely might be worth checking out.

  8. I love these types of movies. I also loved “Julius Caesar” on Broadway when Denzel Washington was in it. That should have been made into a movie. Really good.

  9. See Thayer’s Beethoven. In brief: B wrote his Corialanus Overture and thought this C the best of the plays by our 16th century author. One might say B was projecting (to use modern psychoanalysis) or one might sacrifice history to make more relevant for our 21st century audience or one might just enjoy the greatest of musicians with the greatest of writers. I plan to see the movie. Spoiler alert: READ THE PLAY FIRST. (or why I am not a Democrat)

  10. This movie was awful and poorly acted. I rented it at redbox and all I kept thinking was, who do I talk to about getting my dollar back. The language doesn’t match the surroundings, it appears senseless to keep in modern times. There is nothing amazing or superb about this catastrophe.

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