copyright © Jedo Dre 2011

I don't like Shakespeare.

I tried him on multiple occasions and in multiple forms and by now I could write an essay on all the reasons why.

However, Coriolanus the movie, is very palatable and the lack of popularity this movie has puzzles me as much as the popularity that Shakespeare has.

There are some familiar core problems. Some of the dialogue is poetic nonsense, for which you have to pause and rewind so as to try grasp for some meaning. There are some issues with the story as the wordy dialogues sometimes ignore to explain some basic story aspects, motivations or fail to concentrate on the plot making the movie feel on the slow side. Again, not sure that is the movie's fault rather than Shakespeare's (or the source Shakespeare ripped off). For example, the two main men of this film state that they want to be together and then repeatedly say that they hate each other, with no clear explanation for either of those polar opposite attitudes.

The general dialogue is nonetheless understandable so that one can follow it. It is helped by the good acting of everyone involved. Ralph Fiennes in the main role portrays the Roman general Coriolanus with his overly proud screws loose. His eyes alone could cut you. Good casting there.

The main hook of the movie is that the it is Shakespeare in modern times where Rome is shown in the style of a Western country while the Volsci neighbors are shown in the cultural style of the Balkans. This is not completely novel but it works well and the cultural styles are portrayed well, interesting to look at. There is a lot of hand held camera (but not shaky cam) and it makes things look more gritty and personal. Good cinematography overall, though the real action is not well shot as the cuts are too fast..

The overall plot is interesting. There are no real villains, which is always refreshing. There is no cheesy love interest or a hero. The movie instead explores the clash between patriotism, personal pride and duty to your people. It is an off-beat story.

With so many movies being a copy of the same 4-chord pop song formula, this Shakespeare based film is like a breath of fresh air. And on top of that, it is well-acted and for most part well shot.