An impressive directorial debut for actor Ralph Fiennes, this is another in a long line of big screen Shakespeare adaptations updated for the modern world. Drawing most closely on the media-saturated sensibility of Michael Almereyda’s 2000 take on Hamlet (starring Ethan Hawke), Coriolanus—which explores a complicated feud between rival military leaders in a fictionalized modern Italy—distinguishes itself from that film with its large-scale action set pieces. Pulsing with urgency, Coriolanus features striking performances by Fiennes, Vanessa Redgrave, Jessica Chastain, Brian Cox, and even Gerard Butler. One tip for those who feel intimidated by the language of Shakespeare: watching with the subtitles on is of great help in deciphering—and savouring—the dialogue.
Released on Blu-ray in the U.S. last May, Coriolanus makes its long overdue Canadian HD debut with this relatively straightforward release. While the film’s visual style isn’t especially distinguished, this transfer adequately captures Barry Ackroyd’s monochromatic, largely handheld cinematography.
Mirroring the American release, the Canadian Blu-ray includes just two extras: a six-minute featurette and a commentary by Ralph Fiennes. The latter focuses on issues of performance, exploring the complexities of the source material and the adjustments Fiennes and screenwriter John Logan (The Aviator, Skyfall) made to accommodate a modern setting.