Informit article: Worlds elsewhere: ‘Coriolanus’ and ‘The Iron Lady’

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‘Coriolanus’ (dir. Ralph Fiennes, 2011) and ‘The Iron Lady’ (dir. Phyllida Lloyd, 2011).

‘There is a world elsewhere’, says the patrician Coriolanus when the plebeians’ Tribunes banish him from Rome. Coriolanus, the central character in what is arguably Shakespeare’s greatest tragedy is, whatever else, a man who must fight and fight again, literally, to be at peace with himself; his internal conflicts are among those that make Shakespeare a writer for today as much as yesterday. Ralph Fiennes’s 2011 film of ‘Coriolanus’, with a screenplay by John Logan thatabridges Shakespeare’s text but leaves the language intact, was shot in Belgrade. In it actors speak lines written in around1608 in today’s cadences, making the point about relevance very well indeed. Politics, obedience, loyalty, courage, pride, political manipulation, mothers and wives: it’s all there. When the mother is played by Vanessa Redgrave and Coriolanus himself by Fiennes, his friend and ally Menenius by Brian Cox, and one of the manipulating Tribunes by James Nesbitt, you can be pretty sure that you’re in for a thrilling hour or two. By the end of the film much has been seen and heard, much understood, and much more than can be readily articulated acted out before you. It didn’t rate an award at the Oscars.

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