Coriolanus is the grim tale of a war-hardened hero who’s forced to play the charming “people’s politician” – a role for which he’s disastrously ill-equipped. Undermined in this uncomfortable, pandering role by two scheming tribunes, and, to be honest, by his own pride, he’s cast out of Rome, where he ultimately joins forces with Rome’s sworn enemy.
Through my relationship with beloved Film in Serbia, Coriolanus is the project I’ve probably had most proactive interest in as a Film Commissioner in recent years. It’s taken a long, long time for me to get to see it, but finally here it is, in all its war-torn glory……….
So is it any good? Well, true, it’s not the easiest of Shakespeare’s plays. It is instead rather densely political, and the characters are all rather manipulative and unredeemingly unlikeable (Vanessa Redgrave is vicious as his monstrous mother). But the cast is excellent, the cinematography is truly first class, and the decaying Serbian locations look suitably war torn. I even liked the real-life news footage of the storming of parliament during the overthrow of Milosevic, which paints an uneasy portrait of a nation in turmoil. So: good? yes. Great? maybe not quite, but not through lack of trying.