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Coriolanus: an action-packed tragedy

Meghan Thomassen | Wednesday, September 12, 2012


If you liked “Inglorious Basterds,” anything with Ralph Fiennes or Gerard Butler in the lead roles, or anything that has a lot of blood, violence and Shakespeare, you will like this movie. Note: This should be everyone. 

Coriolanus, a 2011 British film adaptation of Shakespeare’s tragedy of the same name, is set in a modern-day alternate reality of Rome. The first-time director, Ralph Fiennes, plays Caius Martius, Rome’s military genius, and Gerard Butler is Tullus Aufidius, Martius’s mortal enemy. Civil riots rock the city as Martius and Aufidius battle it out for popular favorite. 

When it comes to Shakespeare, this isn’t Fiennes’s first rodeo. Not only has he starred in the Royal Shakespeare Company, but he also won a Tony Award for his role as Hamlet on Broadway. Fiennes brings his signature intensity and gravitas to this already ground-shaking Shakespeare revamp.

Although most of us know him as Lord Voldemort, Fiennes has demonstrated his acting virtuosity in classics such as “Schindler’s List,” “The English Patient” and “The Constant Gardner.” He has been nominated twice for the Academy Award and is slated to play Magwitch in “Great Expectations,” which is due to open in 2012. 

Butler, the Scottish rogue who got his start as the Phantom in Joel Shumacher’s adaptation of “The Phantom of the Opera,” channels his role from “300,” the bloodthirsty King Leonidas, in this mind-binding war film.

From the previews, the film looks like a gritty, stylized exposition of Shakespeare’s political commentary and view on the public figure. The shots focus on Fiennes’ and Butler’s faces quite a lot, and it promises some thundering battle scenes. 

The film hasn’t been released yet in U.S. theaters, but it will be playing tonight at DeBartolo Performing Arts Center. Don’t pass up this opportunity to be one of the first to see this movie. It will give you hipster bragging rights once it tops the charts.

Contact Meghan Thomassen at [email protected]