Ah yes, Shakespeare. You've got to love the aspect of a updated/modern version of one of the classics of a Roman general who caused so much pain on people ending up becoming a Greek tragedy in the end. No Hollywood happy endings in Coriolanus, but I can tell you that Ralph Fiennes did a great job both as director and actor.
WARNING: CONTAINS SPOILERS!
When I say modern, I mean pretty much now. The attire of the soldiers that you see look as if they are wearing what the Marines wear in combat. Another positive about this movie right of the bat is that they didn't do the stupid B.S. that they did with the Leonardo DiCaprio/Claire Danes version of Romeo and Juliet where the people would pull out their guns and it would sound like a sword. There was none of that play here. When a gun got fired, it sounded like a real gun; the explosions were actual explosions (see the video above).
I'm not saying that everyone can sit through a whole Shakespeare movie and not understand a bloody word they are saying -- let alone want to pass out due to the way they talk -- because it over works your brain to the point where it just shuts down and puts you into nap mode. With this movie Ralph Fiennes put his spin on it, made it almost his own, but with all respect towards Shakespeare writings (if that's what he did write in real life). The whole setup of the story is of a General of Rome named Caius Martius Coriolanus (Fiennes). There are issues with the people of Rome where they feel the General hasn't been in the wars that he has been, and has treated the people of Rome with not so much respect. Next to that he has his rival Tullus Aufidius (Gerard Butler), which makes it seem like either these characters are not likable or they are the characters you love to hate. Tullus is part of a group trying to take over Rome, but are unsuccessful each time; it resembles somewhat like the Serbs in the film Behind Enemy Lines.
The group in Rome that dislikes the General and his tactics end up getting him banished from Rome. Caius ends up traveling for a long time, finding his rival Tullus and lets him in on the strengths and weaknesses of Rome. This ensues a war that inevitable ends in the victory for Tullus. The thing that I really didn't see coming was the betrayal part at the end. They bring Caius out to the middle of nowhere, where they had about six guys wear him down with knife slashes, with Tullus coming in with the finishing knife.
The modern time setup of Coriolanus was done very, very, very well. Yes, I know, I said it three times, because it's just one of those things where you are usually forced to see people running around on stage in the old style clothes powdered wigs. There was also the thing about men playing women roles, because that's how the law was back then. To see it finally brought into perspective, where the actual story was told in a way you could understand, was very refreshing. (I would suggest maybe keeping an Old English-styled dictionary on hand due to the fact of how they talk, though.) With a strong cast from Fiennes, Butler, Brian Cox, Vanessa Redgrave, and Jessica Chastian this movie came together very beautifully. If you minus the actual Shakespearean talk, this could've made a very good action film.
RUN TIME: 123 minutes
GENRE: Drama Thriller War
FINAL GRADE: 9.7 (out of ten)
If you were wondering why I said "if that's what he did write in real life," that's because of the movie Anonymous. No, this is not about the hackers that have been making digital threats. It's a film from Roland Emmerich about the belief that Shakespeare had nothing to do with the infamous writings that we have all read at some point or another. The video below gives you a great description of it, but not only that the second video gives you ten ways that Roland Emmerich believes Shakespeare is a fraud.