Generally favorable reviews - based on 32 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 48 Ratings

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  • Summary: Caius Martius ‘Coriolanus', a revered and feared Roman General is at odds with the city of Rome and his fellow citizens. Pushed by his controlling and ambitious mother Volumnia to seek the exalted and powerful position of Consul, he is loath to ingratiate himself with the masses whose votes he needs in order to secure the office. When the public refuses to support him, Coriolanus’s anger prompts a riot that culminates in his expulsion from Rome. The banished hero then allies himself with his sworn enemy Tullus Aufidius to take his revenge on the city. [The Weinstein Company] Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 30 out of 32
  2. Negative: 1 out of 32
  1. Reviewed by: Joe Williams
    Mar 30, 2012
    That action is bloody, but Fiennes' choices as director are unassailably apt and artful. Coriolanus is a triumph.
  2. Reviewed by: Keith Phipps
    Jan 18, 2012
    As played by Ralph Fiennes in his own cinematic adaptation of the play, Coriolanus' military genius makes him a figure of awe, but it's his near-absence of empathy that makes him terrifying.
  3. Reviewed by: Steven Rea
    Feb 16, 2012
    Brian Cox is especially good, and slippery, as Menenius, a Roman senator.
  4. Reviewed by: Eric Hynes
    Nov 29, 2011
    In the case of Ralph Fiennes's adaptation of Coriolanus - the transposition to present day is confusing and counterproductive, dulling the impact of an otherwise fierce, often unbearably immediate production.
  5. Reviewed by: Angie Errigo
    Jan 16, 2012
    Exciting, ironic, with assured direction, accomplished performances and the tension of topical themes, this is Shakespeare as relevant as you like it.
  6. Reviewed by: James Berardinelli
    Jan 12, 2012
    Coriolanus deserves to be seen, however, especially among those who enjoy Shakespeare without considering themselves purists. It's violent, bloody, fast-paced, and powerfully acted. And, if the language represents a barrier of sorts, it's worth remembering that some of the greatest phrases in history derive from Shakespeare's texts.
  7. Reviewed by: Kyle Smith
    Dec 2, 2011
    Moreover, in attempting to update the play to a buzzing CNN world, Ralph Fiennes proves that as a director, he makes a fine actor.

See all 32 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 5 out of 11
  2. Negative: 3 out of 11
  1. Mar 24, 2012
    I hadn't watched or read any Shakespeare material since high school, and walked out the theater awestruck. I think I only got about 80% of the dialogue, but this was definitely the "watching the first shakespeare play" experience that critics talk about that I never understood. The set pieces and the action and combat scenes are expertly done, the visuals alone could carry this movie. Unfortunately the modernization didn't work 100% of the time. The scenes with unwashed mobs inside council chambers and new conferences kind of creaked. Movie would have been far better served repurposing their dialogue into "man on the street" news footage or town hall meetings. Roman style forums just don't translate into modern day life that well. Expand
  2. Aug 28, 2012
    I've never watched movie like this before, I couldn't even describe it but I really like it. Ralph Fiennes proves us that Shakespeare can still exist in modern time. Expand
  3. Jan 2, 2013
    A great film. I enjoyed most aspects, notably the adaptation to the modern setting and particularly the characters. It is true that Caius Martius Coriolanus (R. Fiennes) remains something of a mystery and his motivations and ultimate intentions are not clear, but the relationship between him and Tullus Aufidius (G. Butler) is excellent. Fiennes and Butler portray their respective characters well, getting into the gritty rivalry and respect between these two men of war. The plot explores the vagaries of the mob excellently and the tension between one's role as an enforcer of the will of the electorate and the will of the people. Martius is an excellent portrayal of a barbaric general: violent and unrelenting; and the film captures the feeling of warring tribes and ethnic groups (as Rome was then, as Eastern Europe was in the nineties and as parts of Africa are today). The dirty, drab and dull nature of this Europe of conflicting city states is real, if not particularly beautiful to look at - dirty streets, spray painted walls, litter and trash - the abandoned detritus of a war zone. The film doesn't focus excessively on the battles themselves, using them mainly to develop the characters of Martius and Aufidius; and uses mass media shots to carry background action forward. I felt the film managed to step across time and portray the essence of tribalism, ethnic conflict and charismatic warlords particularly well. Do we like Martius? Do we feel some connection to his humanity? The same could be said of any warlord and general. They do what must be done and people's fear of their power leads to an ambivalent national relationship with them. One thinks of the relationship between the British and American masses with their own soldiers and police, which is equally confused and undecided. At times the olde English can be a bit tiring and confusing, particularly if you don't know the play well but overall a great film. Expand
  4. Mar 17, 2012
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. To be honest I struggled with the dialogue and it really killed my experience of this one. Wished they had gone all the way with turning this in to a contemporary take on the original material with the script too so the more average minded peeps like myself could get a better understanding of the drama unfolding.

    There were some interesting things going on, I really wanted to get some insight into the whole drama of a man turning on his own country and family and it seemed like the film might have drawn some interesting parallels to modern events but unfortunately I couldn't figure out much of it.

    Performances seemed strong and great visuals too.

    Definitely one best left to the Shakespeare types to figure out though.
  5. Nov 20, 2013
    Did the people who made this film know the differences between cinema and theater? I think not. That's why the characters speak as if they are on stage and the city of modern Rome has a population of one hundred people and an army of thirty. Moreover, why didn't they place the story in antiquity? Their 'modern Rome' is just an average city of today with dysfunctional institutions. Fiennes' powerful performance and Shakespeare's finely crafted story depicting the destructive consequences of human pride and jealousy and the ingratitude of the people are wasted here.
  6. May 14, 2012
    Fiennes' acting is great, but the direction is fairly eccentric, with MTV-style editing and extreme closeups ala Tony Scott style.

    overall movie is pretty gimmicky, it's just Shakespeare with explosions and a modern day set design. The dialog isn't altered to fit the new style, nor is it particularly interesting to follow in it's theatrical overbearing dialog scenes, where rarely more than 2 of the dozens of con-screen actors ever talk at a time.

    The film would've been far better as a more true adaptation keeping things in their time period. Trying to randomly bring everything to a modern and American setting makes no sense, and keeping the dialog in it's untouched original form means the film is only going to be enjoyable by self-proclaimed Shakespeare fans.

    This won't be the film that makes Shakespeare interesting or identifiable to you.
  7. Feb 8, 2012
    What a pointless film !!â

See all 11 User Reviews