Saturday, May 31, 2014
Coriolanus...Hiddleston versus Fiennes
Coriolanus is one of my favorite Shakespeare plays and I didn't come to appreciate it until long after I was out of school. (My introductory Shakespeare class was taught by a noted Shakespeare scholar who was hands down, the most boring teacher I ever had.) In a way, the title character, a Roman general who hates the plebian rabble, is a hero for the one percent. In one of the play's most famous lines, he compares the idea of plebians controlling patricians as crows pecking on eagles. Caius Martius sees himself as an eagle and his inability to deal with the "crows," much less respect them leads to his downfall.
There is currently a very good versions of the play available on dvd. Tthe 2011 version directed by and starring Rafe Fiennes as the title character is terrific. It costars Vanessa Redgrave as his mother, one of the great middle-aged female characters in the Shakespeare canon and Gerard Butler as the enemy who becomes an unlikely ally. (He's good too.) Fiennes is terrific. I don't think he's been this good since Schindler's List. It's a ferociously masculine peformance and his rage at the rabble is mesmerizing.
there's also another version of the play currently making the rounds of the specialty movie circuit, a filmed play version from England's National Theatre starring Tom Hiddleston. I missed it when it played locally, and I can only hope that it'll be available for home viewing soon. I would have said Hiddleston was a bit too young to play the character, but as you can see from the trailer below, he inhabits the character like he was born to it. (Anyone who saw him in The Hollow Crown already knows what a strong Shakespearean actor he is, and his Coriolanus looks like a treat.) Cojpare the two trailers and you decide.