Generally favorable reviews - based on 32 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 30 out of 32
  2. Negative: 1 out of 32
Watch On
  1. Reviewed by: Roger Ebert
    Feb 1, 2012
    One of the pleasures of Fiennes' film is that the screenplay by John Logan ("Hugo," "Gladiator") makes room for as much of Shakespeare's language as possible. I would have enjoyed more, because such actors as Fiennes, Vanessa Redgrave and Brian Cox let the words roll trippingly off the tongue.
  2. Reviewed by: Peter Travers
    Jan 19, 2012
    Think "The Hurt Locker," which shares a cinematographer in Barry Ackroyd with no damage to the Bard's bruising poetry. Neat trick.
  3. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    Feb 16, 2012
    Coriolanus leaves an acrid, unfinished taste. Fiennes, making his directorial debut, gets into the meat of the thing, and he takes advantage of the bluntness of the text; even Shakespeare newcomers will be able to follow along.
  4. Reviewed by: Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Dec 7, 2011
    With its warring factions, citizen uprisings, guerrilla insurgencies, political intrigue, bloody warfare, family tensions, and homoerotic subtext, Coriolanus is one of the year's best political thrillers.
  5. Reviewed by: Steven Rea
    Feb 16, 2012
    Brian Cox is especially good, and slippery, as Menenius, a Roman senator.
  6. 90
    Fiennes and Logan haven't made a definitive Coriolanus, but they've made a sensationally gripping one. They have the pulse of the play, its firm martial beats and its messy political clatter. They tell a damn good story.
  7. Reviewed by: Michael Phillips
    Feb 2, 2012
    You buy the concept, from start to finish, because it feels strong and purposeful and in sync with Shakespeare's own vision of a malleable, fickle populace and a leader raised by the ultimate stage mother.
  8. Reviewed by: Andrew O'Hehir
    Dec 1, 2011
    Fiennes' crackerjack Coriolanus stays true to the clever, almost mean-spirited twists and turns of the story, and preserves the authentic flavor and texture of the language.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. Reviewed by: Joshua Rothkopf
    Nov 29, 2011
    In lesser hands, this could have easily been some seriously detestable John Wayne jingoism. But via Fiennes, the film is a spiky and complex counterweight to Hollywood sentiment and indie cynicism alike.
  12. Reviewed by: Connie Ogle
    Mar 22, 2012
    Coriolanus is not by any stretch a hero, and yet Fiennes makes him magnetic, a warrior you can't look away from even when you might want to.
  13. Reviewed by: Ray Bennett
    Dec 1, 2011
    Ralph Fiennes directs and stars in Coriolanus as William Shakespeare's Rambo in a production that delivers heavyweight screen acting at its best.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 50 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.
    Full Review »
  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 adaptationOh 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.
    Full Review »
  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 areDid 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.
    Full Review »