Coriolanus | Chicago Reader

Coriolanus

Shakespeare's tragedy Coriolanus is seldom staged, yet its story of a professional warrior who proves unfit for democratic society seems as pertinent as ever. Ralph Fiennes, making his directing debut, has transposed the play from ancient Rome to present-day eastern Europe (with locations shot in Belgrade) and appropriated the cable-TV imagery of contemporary urban warfare (there are even breaking-news captions that explicate the military movements). It's a great conceit—the scene in which Coriolanus is banished for his contempt of popular rule takes place during a live-audience TV show—yet Fiennes might have made this even more potent if he'd gone all the way and, instead of referencing the civil war in the disintegrating Yugoslavia, set the story in a truly militaristic society like the United States. The able cast includes Gerard Butler, Brian Cox, Vanessa Redgrave, and Jessica Chastain.

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