Shakespeare’s Rome – a city of corruption and betrayal. At the head of power is Coriolanus (an incendiary Ralph Fiennes), a duplicitous and entitled war hero who imposes his extreme ideals and causes a mass riot. Banished from the city by its citizens, politicians, and even his own mother (Vanessa Redgrave), Coriolanus is surprised to link up with his enemy Aufidius (Gerard Butler). Together, the two wreak revenge on the city, his family, and fight their bloody way to regain power.
Screenwriter John Logan (Skyfall, Hugo) deftly adapts the Bard’s play of carnage with his original language, yet it is Fiennes’ focused direction that creates the militant world of war and brutality. But no battles are more brutal than that between Coriolanus and his mother, played with darkness and sincerity by Redgrave. It’s a powerhouse performance at the centre of a bloody and vital adaptation. Coriolanus may be Shakespeare, but it’s Shakespeare delivered with an intensity rarely seen onscreen.