starring Ralph Fiennes, Gerard Butler, Vanessa Redgrave, Brian Cox
screenplay by John Logan, based on the play by Edward de Vere
directed by Ralph Fiennes
by Angelo Muredda Ralph Fiennes has been building up to Coriolanus for some time. Whether as a scarred or just nervous exile in The English Patient and The Constant Gardener, respectively, or as the noseless ghoul of the Harry Potter movies, he's served as the embodiment of human refuse for a long stretch of his career--the English go-to for wanderers, burn victims, and miscellaneous banished men. It's a treat, then, to watch him take relish in the part of the ultimate cast-off, a Roman general chewed up and spit out by the city for which he earned his war wounds. The actor's hyphenate debut, Fiennes's adaptation of Shakespeare's Coriolanus is a curio, to be sure: It isn't so much directed as cobbled together from the source and fed through CNN-style reportage of armed fighting in the Balkans. But as a star vehicle, for both himself and the incomparable Vanessa Redgrave, it's a powerful match between actor and character. While the general-turned-politician's fine suit hangs awkwardly on the brute it houses, for Fiennes, Coriolanus is a good fit.