Monday, February 20, 2012
One thing is for sure, Shakespeare knew his soliders, both as heroes but also as fatally flawed men several steps short of glory.
From Othello with his superstition and credulity to Julius Caesar with his fatal ambition...the Bard told the truth on them all.
Now at long last, Ralph Fiennes has dig waaa-ay down in the canon to come up with "Coriolanus" Shakespeare's arrogant childish mother dominated Roman General who is banished by jealous rivals only to return at the head of an army composed of Rome's hated enemies.
Simply put, I loved this movie Fiennes put across just enough Wellesian touches (modern dress, iambic pentameter news broadcasts) without taking focus off the weird triangle between Coriolanus, his Norman Batesish Mother (played with razor sharp nastiness by Vanessa Redgrave) and Aufidius (Gerard Butler), Coriolanus's former foe, sudden ally and maybe sorta BF.
Like I said, Shakespeare knew his soldiers.
Well all sexual politics aside, Coriolanus is likely Shakespeare's most reactionary protagonist, he loses out on the consulship of Rome simply because he can't bring himself to cajole the restive masses for five lousy minutes. He bungles his opportunity, blames everyone but himself and then betrays his country literally in a childish temper tantrum.
Very instructive in an Election Year to be sure.
I sometimes am given to think that Shakespeare had it in for the Romans, they keep reaching for Glory in all his Histories and all fall short with tragic consequences...by contrast his English Kings occasionally land on a Happy Ending...even if it's by accident.
Anyhow this one won't last long in the theaters, its an relatively obscure Shakespeare adaptation by US standards well worth tracking down to the Waltham Embassy.