I had the pleasure of seeing Ralph Fiennes's "Coriolanus" at the St. Louis International Film Festival, on Nov 11th, 2011. I was on the edge of my seat through the entire film. Needless to say, the filming, production values, etc., were fantastic; but it was the relevance of the film that kept me glued to the screen.
Ralph Fiennes captured the timeless concepts that Shakespeare expressed in his play brilliantly - so much so that I feel there will be strong/visceral audience reaction to the film's depiction of themes that reflect in today's front page stories.
The theme of a military officer's political role resonated with me as a retired Navy Officer. The theme of the contrast between "high society" and the proletariat resonates in the "Occupy XXX" protests occurring today. The conflict between liberal and conservative (dare I say Democrat vs. Republican) ideals played very loudly in this film. Even the issues in European politics reflected themes we see in today's news.
The acting by Ralph Fiennes, Vanessa Redgrave & Gerard Butler propelled the story and kept it moving swiftly. Some have panned the use of Shakespeare's original language. I, for one, had no trouble following the language. This film ranks with Kenneth Brannagh's "Henry V" and Baz Luhrmann's "William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet" for making a film in Shakespearean English accessible by 21st Century Man.
I've always believed that some folks in the U.S. malign William Shakespeare's writings today, because they were forced to read his plays in a cold classroom setting in their youth. Shakespeare didn't intend his works to be read. He meant them to be performed and watched. This film proves the power of a good telling of a Shakespeare tale.