Generally favorable reviews - based on 32 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 30 out of 32
  2. Negative: 1 out of 32
  1. 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.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 49 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 5 out of 11
  2. Negative: 3 out of 11
  1. Mar 17, 2012
    This review contains spoilers, click full review link 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.
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  2. Mar 26, 2014
    Oh the missed opportunity. It cuts me deep. Great visuals and direction from Ralph Fiennes in his directorial debut. The modern day adaptation of Shakepeare's play was a very creative way to change it up. The difference in setting when we see Apple Computers in one shot and then we see this very 1500s/1600s set pieces outside was a very interesting choice that I enjoyed. The action sequences were intense and the thrills were certainly there. In spite of knowing that this is a tragedy, you still get attached to the characters even though you know there is no other way for this one to wind up. Impressive on those fronts for sure.

    Now, the negatives. There are, admittedly, not many, but they are major enough to knock this down all the way to such a low rating for me. The major negative here is the dialogue. You can kind of piece together what is going on, for sure, but the Shakespearean language made this one a pain to watch. Very intense scenes could have been all the more intense if I understood what they were saying. The fact that they were intense at all speaks to Fiennes' talent in the director's chair, but his failure to realize that Shakespearean language is very hard to understand and does not really translate well to film is a major redmark on this debut. In addition, aside from Fiennes, the acting was incredibly spotty. In too many scenes, it felt forced and as if I was watching a bad play. I am sure the language used played a role in this feeling, but the acting was anything but up to snuff. With such a capable cast of actors, I expected much more, but was instead left disappointed as I never really "bought" a lot of it, as it was painfully obvious they were acting.
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  3. 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.
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