Ralph Fiennes is best known for his many dramatic roles in films such as “The English Patient” or “The Constant Gardner” and, most recently, the “Harry Potter” series as Lord Voldemort. In my opinion, Fiennes has this knack for selecting film roles that are excellent in depth and, in the end, we are unable to see any other actor in those roles.
With a wide selection of film roles already under his belt, Fiennes is making his directorial debut with a modern adaptation of William Shakespeare’s tragedy “Coriolanus.” Fiennes not only directs and produces, but is also in the lead role of Coriolanus, a role he played on stage 11 years ago. The man can do it all.
The screenplay is written by Golden Globe winner and Oscar nominee John Logan (“Gladiator” and “The Last Samurai”) and features a notable cast, including: Fiennes as Coriolanus; Gerard Butler as Coriolanus’ sworn enemy, Tullus Aufidius; Vanessa Redgrave as Coriolanus’ manipulative and controlling mother, Volumnia; Brian Cox as Menenius, a senator of Rome; and Jessica Chastain as the wife of Coriolanus Virgilia.
If you are unfamiliar with the plotline of Shakespeare’s tragic play, here’s a quick synopsis:
“Coriolanus” — a revered and feared Roman General — is at odds with the city of Rome and his fellow citizens. After a riot, Coriolanus gains recognition and is pushed by his controlling and ambitious mother Volumnia to seek the exalted position of Consul. He is loath to ingratiate himself with the masses whose votes he needs in order to secure the office, but ultimately gains the seat. However, Brutus and Sicinius, tribunes of Rome, plot against Coriolanus and incite another riot against Coriolanus becoming Consul and condemn him as a traitor. The riot culminates in the expulsion of Coriolanus from Rome and the banished hero allies himself with his sworn enemy, Tullus Aufidius to take his revenge on the city.
From this trailer alone, we can see the great cast and that Fiennes has outdone himself in his directorial debut. The modern take does include Shakespearian dialogue and reminds me of the Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes version of “Romeo and Juliet,” but yet it doesn’t feel as awkward as you would think in the film. The backdrop of Fiennes’ film was shot mostly in Serbia, so it only gives us more of an air of unrest that the world knows has experienced a lot of social and military upheaval in the past decade alone.
The film is currently making its rounds in film festivals around the world and is already garnering lots of attention as well as awards. I can only imagine what it will do once Oscar season finally hits. It is due out in Canadian theaters Dec. 25 and in the U.S. on Jan. 13, 2012. Will you be looking for it at a Cineplex near you?
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