(out of 5)

One of Shakespeare’s least-known plays is adapted to the big screen by actor/director , playing the Roman general who goes back and forth in popularity with his people to devastating consequences. The Bard’s verse is kept intact but the setting is a modern-day, Hurt Locker-looking Rome where politicians speak into microphones and news headlines are splashed across television screens. Donning army gear and toting a gun, Martius (Fiennes) defeats his enemy Aufidius () and is glorified by Rome, which then turns on him when he reveals his hatred of the common, hungry people. Inspired to get revenge, he shacks up with Aufidius to take the city back, all the while being implored by his power-hungry mother (a riveting ), who encouraged him to run for consul in the first place, not to destroy the city of his origins. This is a messy experience that does not light up on screen despite the performances; Shakespeare’s military drama feels like hardly more than men shouting before battle for two hours here, and Fiennes’ decision to use the contemporary setting has the condescending attitude that these productions usually display, something akin to a preacher who is trying to tell kids that the Bible is cool cause it has sex and violence in it. What you really have is a film full of cell phones and laptops being used by characters who do not actually possess the vocabulary to describe them. The highly theatrical content and dialogue is strangely juxtaposed with gritty, flat cinematography made to resemble a third-world country press conference for a thoroughly unsatisfying experience.

, , , , , , , , ,

United Kingdom, 2011

Directed by

Screenplay by , based on the play by

Cinematography by

Produced by Ralph Fiennes, John Logan, , ,

Music by

Production Design by

Costume Design by

Film Editing by

New York Film Critics Awards 2011.  

Toronto International Film Festival 2011

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