Although the wardrobe is modern, and the film was shot in Serbia, the setting is ancient Rome, where a fearsome warrior named Caius Martius returns from battle, having vanquished his sworn enemy Aufidius. He is awarded the name Coriolanus and hailed as a hero, but the rabble in the streets don’t share that view—as he denied them sustenance during wartime—and he has wily enemies within the Roman congress who plot his downfall.
Coriolanus isn’t light entertainment, but its relevance, and resonance, may come as a surprise to viewers who don’t normally seek out the works of the Bard. The first-time director and his cinematographer, Barry Ackroyd, imbue the film with incredible energy and power. Like Coriolanus, Fiennes is a force to be reckoned with.
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