Ralph Fiennes both acts and directs in this fascinating adaptation of Shakespeare’s Coriolanus, superbly updated to the setting of a modern war zone. Filmed largely in Serbia, where the real scars of war are still visible, the setting complements the play magnificently, serving only to highlight the contemporary relevance of much of the text. Occasionally, references to the original Roman context seem slightly jarring, but overall it’s a successful and original re-imagining.
It’s an intelligent update that works well, with the advisers playing the media to sway public opinion and some visceral action scenes.
The acting is uniformly good, with a very credible Aufidius from Gerard Butler, but I have to single out Vanessa Redgrave who’s impassioned Volumnia is simply outstanding.