Coriolanus - Blu-ray Review

'this might be Shakespeare for a new age, in a new setting, but it's stunningly dull, noticeably missing in the real will to empower the playwright again'

There's an interesting idea at the heart of Ralph Fiennes' Shakespeare adaptation, Coriolanus. It's not the first time The Bard has been transplanted to the modern day but there's still something new about the way the director/star approaches the material here. Coriolanus has a real grit, a desire not to jazz up the play for a new audience but to reframe it and send it out into the world as good as ever it was.

What that approach misses though, at least partially, is any sense of dynamic invention. Sure, this might be Shakespeare for a new age, in a new setting, but it's stunningly dull, noticeably missing in the real will to empower the playwright again, something that cannot be levelled at Baz Luhrmann's Romeo And Juliet, still the modern take on Shakespeare all aspire to.

There are too some broken decisions here. Gerard Butler, an odd casting choice for this sort of material on the face of things, proves an odd casting choice in practice. It would be pleasant to report unheard of depths but they're not here. This is still a man whose talents are best suited to shouting and kicking people into large pits, not iambic pentameter and decidedly complicated character choices.

Fiennes, a first time director, rarely breaks from safe blood-stained close-ups, which, under the guise of cinematographer Barry Ackroyd, look outstanding but rarely threaten to cure the film's problem with invention. As an actor, meanwhile, this might reassure Fiennes that he is better with this material than as a children's pantomime villain whose name we dare not speak, but again, we're hardly seeing something new. Fiennes as Tullus would have been by far the more interesting casting choice but then everyone here, and the audience, knows that Butler never could have pulled off Coriolanus.

The resonance of the play to modern times shines through eventually, expertly considering the suitability of military leaders to govern the people, but it unfolds with all of the excitement and grace of stale bread, despite some half-hearted attempts to appeal to the Call Of Duty generation.



No comments:

Post a comment