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My Honest Feelings on Coriolanus

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Having been very lucky to get a ticket to the premiere at Berlinale on Monday and see it again yesterday ive had a few days to digest it all so here are my thoughts on the film:-

To give a synopsis Coriolanus is the story of a great General called Caius Martius(Ralph Fiennes) who the ordinary citizens of "Rome" blame for the food shortage and riot thru the city wanting to name their price for grain. Martius hates the Plebiens(lower class) with utter contempt but a local patrician Menenius(Brian Cox) tries to play mediator. At this time war ensues with a neighbouring army Volscians led by Martius's formidable rival Tullus Aufidius(Gerard Butler). The Volscians are defeated and Martius army takes charge of the city of Corioles and in recognition of this great triumph is given the name of Coriolanus. Martius returns to Rome and is persuaded by his mother Volumnia(Vanessa Redgrave) to accept the Senates offer of Consul but to be able to get into office he must seek the votes from the people he despises the most - the Plebians. They at first agree but are swayed by 2 tribunes Brutus and Sicinius(Paul Jesson and James Nesbitt) who provoke Martius knowing the foul temper he has into revealing his true feelings and is banished from Rome. To seek revenge on those who banished him he seeks out his great rival Aufidius in Antium and together they conspire to capture Rome. Rome is in a panic and Menenius comes begging for mercy but Martius is hell bent on seeking revenge. As a last resort his mother Volumnia pleads and Martius relents and signs a treaty of peace. This infuriates Aufidius who feels betrayed and it leads to a bloody showdown.

Coriolanus is a remarkable directorial debut by Fiennes who has surrounded himself with a topnotch cast with nobody being the weaklink. I commend him on his modern adaptation making it so apt in these modern times and his full use of modern technology like 24 hour news and mobile uploading to spread news fast is a great touch. Fiennes is spellbounding and if I had a slight gripe it felt like he was playing to a theatre projecting his voice so the person at the back of the gods can hear rather than realising we are close to the screen and it became a bit overpowering at times. Vanessa Redgrave deserves every ounce of praise that comes her way and I can definitely see her being rewarded out of anybody in this film as it was a masterclass in acting. Brian Cox has some of the light hearted humurous moments in the film and overacts to his hearts content in a way you'd expect with Shakespeare. Jessica Chastain as Martius wife Virgilia is not a strong showy part but she stands her own with Vanessa and Ralph.

As for Gerry it has been noted he has not really been singled out for much praise??. He was tremendous in a very understated non showy way. He neither overacts nor underacts and can certainly hold his own in his scenes with Fiennes. He does not have many scenes like Fiennes or Redgrave where he gets to do these powerful speeches hence why he is not being praised to high hilt. Auffidius is vital to the story but is very much a supporting character - only really prominent in the opening and closing parts of the film. Fiennes chose well in Gerry and knew what he was doing by casting him. There has been much talk about the homo erotic aspect of the 2 characters but that didnt come across like that to me. It was 2 guys rolling about fighting very close nose to nose screaming and yelling end of Posted Image.

Even though Brian Cox is Scottish he sounded so differently reciting the Shakespeare dialogue than Gerry did. Gerry's accent is so thick sounding and if im being honest the conclusion I came to is Auffidius is more a commoner and Gerry was picked for his broad accent. Shakespeare tends to come off better when recited by a theatrical English voice which would not have worked with his character. He is a formidable presence on screen and Ralph uses full use of Gerry's best attribute - his eyes- to convey a million words with one look. Fans of King Leo can be rest assured he is back in the form of Auffidius. Coriolanus may have even been improved - in the scene the night before where the men are getting ready to battle it would not have looked out of place or cheapened the movie if they had Auffidius b*****g a local wh**e Posted Image

Will this film do well when put on general release in November??. IMO the clips that have been released in no way give indication to the depth of dialogue used. If you are in no way offay with the Shakespeare language this will be heavy going for the average cinema goer. I'm not sure if the modern setting and buzz re amazing performances will be enough to bring cinema goers flocking to see this in their droves. I'm grateful the Weinstein Co is behind it because if anybody can get the buzz out there they can. If im being honest in the US it will be lucky to get beyond Indie Art Houses as I just cant see the average American taking to the Shakespeare language which is a shame as the modern setting makes it very "now".

Moira

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Great review, Moira. Several articles indicate that it is a good idea to have read the story before seeing the film, which I will definitely do. We are certainly not a highbrow lot here in the States; quite the contrary. Popular films here usually feature the likes of Owen Wilson and Adam Sandler. I wonder if Ralph and Vanessa won't bring people in out of curiosity since they have such fine reputations. Gerry isn't as well known here as in Europe (even though that seems unbelievable to those of us on Gals). There is a contingent here that love indie films and have embraced those in the past which were mainly period pieces. I'm reminded of the wonderful Merchant Ivory productions like Room With a View, Howards End, etc. This will definitely be a stretch for the masses here, but if it has a decent showing here, perhaps it will in Europe where it is be embraced. I hope it is a huge success, but there's no doubt it was a bold undertaking by Fiennes.

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:doh:

At this time war ensues with a neighbouring army Volscians led by Martius's formidable rival Tullus Aufidius(Gerard Butler). The Volscians are defeated and Martius army takes charge of the city of Corioles and in recognition of this great triumph is given the name of Coriolanus.

Tell me Moira; does he "buy the farm" in this movie....? gulp that means "die"...

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May he is in it right to the end then they fight to the death. If you know story you will know the outcome :lmao:

Moira

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:doh:

At this time war ensues with a neighbouring army Volscians led by Martius's formidable rival Tullus Aufidius(Gerard Butler). The Volscians are defeated and Martius army takes charge of the city of Corioles and in recognition of this great triumph is given the name of Coriolanus.

Tell me Moira; does he "buy the farm" in this movie....? gulp that means "die"...

Spoiler line removed for those who don't know how it ends.

Delene

Edited by Paisleyscot
Spoiler line removed

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Delene I re-iterate for May Gerry is in it right to the end where there is a bloody showdown. As for who kills who people could find that out for themselves but thank you for letting everyone know the outcome :lmao:

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:doh: O...K... phew; I just HATE IT when he dies in the end...sigh :inshade::tissues:sniff

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Moira, thanks so much for your very excellent summary & incite.

Those of us that will apparently have to wait until November to see the film are very appreciative.

I also have to agree that I've never seen anyone that can express more w/ their eyes than Gerry. They have been the cause of many tears on my part.

Bren

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Delene I re-iterate for May Gerry is in it right to the end where there is a bloody showdown. As for who kills who people could find that out for themselves but thank you for letting everyone know the outcome :lmao:

Everyone knows the outcome, except us troglodyte Americans who never read Shakespeare and wouldn't be interested in seeing the movie anyway! :kisswink::spit:

Delene

Edited by GBPhanatic

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Moira, thanks so much for your very excellent summary & incite.

Those of us that will apparently have to wait until November to see the film are very appreciative.

I also have to agree that I've never seen anyone that can express more w/ their eyes than Gerry. They have been the cause of many tears on my part.

Bren

:wuv:That's a big DITTO for me as well Moira...all the above! Posted Image

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I was lucky enough to see the film twice in Berlin and here is my review:

This is a beautiful film and the more you watch it the more it stays with you. This may also be a difficult film to sell and watch and understand in various juristictions.

The look and feel of the film is a far cry from what Hollywood usually produces. Nothing is glossified or beautified about it. It is realistic and brutal at times and I believe the choice of Serbia was a stroke of genious on behalf of Ralph. The settings may seem odd and rough to some audiences, especially in the US, but they ring home to Europeans, especially those in Central and Southeastern Europe who have lived the transition from communism to democracy or remember the war in Serbia or are currently experiencing turmoil and financial difficulties as we are in Greece. In fact since the Greeks and the Serbs are very close as people and share the same religion, the presence of many mutual symbols makes this film even more familiar to me.

The language is the original one used in the play and at the screenings even English speaking people had some difficulty at first understanding it. But once your ears get used to it, it becomes magical and draws you into it. I believe it will help if people are familiar with the story before they go and see the film.

Ralph uses some very artistic and powerful images, the camera work is impecable, dreamy really. It's like a beautiful painting, a work of art.

There are moments when everything is silent, no music, just the sound of the movements of the characters and this is captivating.

The cast is divine, each actor delivering a performance we rarely get to see nowadays, a sheer pleasure to watch and get lost in. I am referring to all the actors, no matter how big or small their part. Ralph seems to have been able to get some of the best talent available.

Vanessa Redgrave and Brian Cox give a performance that will blow you away. If they are not nominated for something, especially Vanessa, there is no justice in this world. Vanessa is so noble and elegant and so much in command of her acting. Once you have seen this performance you will think that you never knew what good, proper, no freels acting was before.

Ralph has some superior moments, especially the scenes with his mother and his last scene with Aufidius. However he also has moments where he lets himself become a little too theatrical in my humble, not very experienced opinion, I just felt that the camera requires a slightly different, subtler approach at times. That's a minor detail though, the man is the epitomy of great acting.

When it comes to Gerry, I cannot be unbiased. However my friends and I thought he was extremely good, very much in control of his power and character. He delivers a subtle performance the way it should be, not going to extremes but letting his expressions and eyes and body language do most of the work. I think he has grasped and manages to convey perfectly the gravitas of his character and the journey he goes through where his relationship with Coriolanus is concerned. You will be happy to know that the Scottish accent is there in full force and it is very refeshing to hear Shakespeare in a Scottish accent once you get used to it. He once again reminds us what a versatile actor he is and one only hopes that he is offered more opportunities like that to showcase his talent. Ralph sure chose well by casting Gerry in this role.

My only concern is that at times I felt that Gerry looked too good for his own good as far as this part was concerned. Maybe he could have looked a bit more weather beaten. But that's a stupid complaint. :-)

Do I think he will be nominated? Hard to tell. Not because he wasn't good enough, but because the part doesn't allow him to do an awful lot with it. Coriolanus for example has a number of things happening to him and he gets to demonstrate a number of emotions, interract with many characters etc. Aufidius is more limited but if Gerry is to be judged by how well be managed to convey his character despite the limited text and opportunity, then recognition is due. In short this not Hollywood Gerry, it's the good, old ACTOR Gerry we knew and loved in DF or the Jury so you will not be disappointed.

Most memorable scene would have to be the one where Aufidius silently shaves Coriolanus's hair once they become allies and Coriolanus joins the Volcians.

Theresa

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I'm very happy to hear the film turned out so well. I personally will be absolutely crushed if I don't get the opportunity to see this in theaters. I completely trust in the power of the Weinstein Company, because I know they know what they're doing and the fact that they're getting behind this film says a lot to me. But nonetheless, I know I'm in the minority, but I am a lifelong Shakespeare fan, I'm an avid reader of his plays and also performed in a few throughout my high school years, and it means the world to me to see it done right and with the language intact.

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What great reviews Moira and Terez! Now I know I can't wait to see it...

Moira, I think you missed your calling!! ;-) lol

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Thanks, Theresa, for your review! Inspite of the fact that I'm not a big fan of extreme violence, I'm looking forward to this film, especially hearing Shakespeare through a Scottish brogue!

Most memorable scene would have to be the one where Aufidius silently shaves Coriolanus's hair once they become allies and Coriolanus joins the Volcians.

Would this be one of the scenes Moira was referring to that may have some "homo erotic" undertones? Hmmm! I would also think that Aufidius with a razor in his hand is probably quite "turned on" to the availability of Coriolanus' neck in such close proximity perhaps!

Thanks to both Moira and Theresa for sharing their reviews and good fortune to be in attendance! :bow2:

Delene

Edited by GBPhanatic

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Thanks, Theresa, for your review! Inspite of the fact that I'm not a big fan of extreme violence, I'm looking forward to this film, especially hearing Shakespeare through a Scottish brogue!

Most memorable scene would have to be the one where Aufidius silently shaves Coriolanus's hair once they become allies and Coriolanus joins the Volcians.

Would this be one of the scenes Moira was referring to that may have some "homo erotic" undertones? Hmmm! I would also think that Aufidius with a razor in his hand is probably quite "turned on" to the availability of Coriolanus' neck in such close proximity perhaps!

Thanks to both Moira and Theresa for sharing their reviews and good fortune to be in attendance! :bow2:

Delene

Well, there is no razor blade, it's a electirc razor. :-) And no, I did not see anything homoerotic in that or in the two fighting scenes Coriolanus and Aufidius have. I think Moira would agree with me. I really don't see how people come up with those interpretations. Ralph mentioned it too but I didn't see it. I have read the play too and I didn't see it there either. What I did see, in the film more than in the play, is the extreme power and control that Volumnia (the mother) has over Coriolanus. There is something of a Greek ancient tragedy in that relationship, something out of the ordinary and Virgilia, the wife, seems to think so too. Not necessarily erotic but out of the ordinary boundaries.

Theresa

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I thought Coriolanus was the name of the city? Oy I guess I didn't read it right. And I had no idea how it ended, but now I do. Thanks, Delene. ;)

Definitely doesn't sound like a movie that would go over well in this area. Sadly, I live in a place where Beverly Hills Chihuahua and Hot Tub Time Machine are top box office draws. However, if Weinstein gives it a wide distribution, I may be able to see it in Bakersfield or Fresno.

I also think it sounds like a film I'd have to see more than once in order to truly grasp the story, just because sometimes it's difficult to "translate" the Shakespeare in my brain. LOL

I agree; Moira has missed her calling - but there's always time!! :lol:

Thanks both of you for your reviews. I'm really looking forward to seeing it!

Lisa

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Well, there is no razor blade, it's a electirc razor.

Well that would make more sense. But I could see where you could do some major damage with a Braun! :doh:

Lisa, you're welcome but I thought you, of all people, would have read Coriolanus. Sorry!

Delene

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Well, there is no razor blade, it's a electirc razor.

Well that would make more sense. But I could see where you could do some major damage with a Braun! :doh:

Lisa, you're welcome but I thought you, of all people, would have read Coriolanus. Sorry!

Delene

Not me. I'm one of those who doesn't even like to see too many trailers for movies. :lol: Doesn't matter, hon. :) It's one of Shakespeare's tragedies so SOMEONE had to die.

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Well I have to be honest and say I'm not the least bit surprised that it may not even show in our area! I knew that as soon as it was announced that it was going to be done in Shakespeare speech... Thus I also knew it was not going to be a great loss for me. I'm a plain Jane and lowbrow I guess... This is not for me. Don't get me wrong, I'm anxious to see a Gerry movie and soon but this one didn't really pull at my shirtails from the beginning! Kinda reminds me of B&G... Remember JMO and I'm not trying to put the movie down in any way....If anything I hope it does get the recognition that some of you seem to think it may!

Moira, I'll chime in with the rest and say Thank you and yes....you've missed your calling!

:wave: Frannie

Edited by ladyfran

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I was lucky enough to see the film twice in Berlin and here is my review:

This is a beautiful film and the more you watch it the more it stays with you. This may also be a difficult film to sell and watch and understand in various juristictions.

The look and feel of the film is a far cry from what Hollywood usually produces. Nothing is glossified or beautified about it. It is realistic and brutal at times and I believe the choice of Serbia was a stroke of genious on behalf of Ralph. The settings may seem odd and rough to some audiences, especially in the US, but they ring home to Europeans, especially those in Central and Southeastern Europe who have lived the transition from communism to democracy or remember the war in Serbia or are currently experiencing turmoil and financial difficulties as we are in Greece. In fact since the Greeks and the Serbs are very close as people and share the same religion, the presence of many mutual symbols makes this film even more familiar to me.

The language is the original one used in the play and at the screenings even English speaking people had some difficulty at first understanding it. But once your ears get used to it, it becomes magical and draws you into it. I believe it will help if people are familiar with the story before they go and see the film.

Ralph uses some very artistic and powerful images, the camera work is impecable, dreamy really. It's like a beautiful painting, a work of art.

There are moments when everything is silent, no music, just the sound of the movements of the characters and this is captivating.

The cast is divine, each actor delivering a performance we rarely get to see nowadays, a sheer pleasure to watch and get lost in. I am referring to all the actors, no matter how big or small their part. Ralph seems to have been able to get some of the best talent available.

Vanessa Redgrave and Brian Cox give a performance that will blow you away. If they are not nominated for something, especially Vanessa, there is no justice in this world. Vanessa is so noble and elegant and so much in command of her acting. Once you have seen this performance you will think that you never knew what good, proper, no freels acting was before.

Ralph has some superior moments, especially the scenes with his mother and his last scene with Aufidius. However he also has moments where he lets himself become a little too theatrical in my humble, not very experienced opinion, I just felt that the camera requires a slightly different, subtler approach at times. That's a minor detail though, the man is the epitomy of great acting.

When it comes to Gerry, I cannot be unbiased. However my friends and I thought he was extremely good, very much in control of his power and character. He delivers a subtle performance the way it should be, not going to extremes but letting his expressions and eyes and body language do most of the work. I think he has grasped and manages to convey perfectly the gravitas of his character and the journey he goes through where his relationship with Coriolanus is concerned. You will be happy to know that the Scottish accent is there in full force and it is very refeshing to hear Shakespeare in a Scottish accent once you get used to it. He once again reminds us what a versatile actor he is and one only hopes that he is offered more opportunities like that to showcase his talent. Ralph sure chose well by casting Gerry in this role.

My only concern is that at times I felt that Gerry looked too good for his own good as far as this part was concerned. Maybe he could have looked a bit more weather beaten. But that's a stupid complaint. :-)

Do I think he will be nominated? Hard to tell. Not because he wasn't good enough, but because the part doesn't allow him to do an awful lot with it. Coriolanus for example has a number of things happening to him and he gets to demonstrate a number of emotions, interract with many characters etc. Aufidius is more limited but if Gerry is to be judged by how well be managed to convey his character despite the limited text and opportunity, then recognition is due. In short this not Hollywood Gerry, it's the good, old ACTOR Gerry we knew and loved in DF or the Jury so you will not be disappointed.

Most memorable scene would have to be the one where Aufidius silently shaves Coriolanus's hair once they become allies and Coriolanus joins the Volcians.

Theresa

Oh thank you for sharing your views! That's the Gerry I have been longing to see on the screen again. Cannot wait to see for myself!

Swannie

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I thought Coriolanus was the name of the city? Oy I guess I didn't read it right. Lisa

The name of the city is Corioles. He gets named Coriolanus after he defeats the Volcians in Corioles.

T

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I thought Coriolanus was the name of the city? Oy I guess I didn't read it right. Lisa

The name of the city is Corioles. He gets named Coriolanus after he defeats the Volcians in Corioles.

T

Oh thanks for clearing that up! :)

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:doh:

At this time war ensues with a neighbouring army Volscians led by Martius's formidable rival Tullus Aufidius(Gerard Butler). The Volscians are defeated and Martius army takes charge of the city of Corioles and in recognition of this great triumph is given the name of Coriolanus.

Tell me Moira; does he "buy the farm" in this movie....? gulp that means "die"...

Spoiler line removed for those who don't know how it ends.

Delene

Excuse me, but I had already edited and removed the "spoiler" line last night!

I'm not understanding why this is considered a "spoiler" when this play has been done hundreds of times, even by Gerry. If it was a fresh story, I could understand it. It's kind of like not wanting to know the ending to Romeo and Juliet! Anyone who isn't familiar with it can google Coriolanus and find out the ending!

Delene

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:doh: O...K... phew; I just HATE IT when he dies in the end...sigh :inshade::tissues:sniff

Ok so now I know the ending, sigh

Yes I could look up the play, but I preferred not to. Moot point now. But its my own fault I should know better than to read anything

Edited by MareksLadyD

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So; does Gerry's character get killed off in this one?

No, only Ralph's who is murdered by Gerry' character. I hope they keep it this way. I can so see the rage in Gerry's eyes when he kills Marcius.

T

As all of you who don't wish to have the ending revealed and curse my hide for revealing it, here's a little post I found where it's already been discussed and the ending revealed OVER A YEAR AGO! :funnyface:

Delene

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