Coriolanus ★★★★½

Yes, yes, yes, this is how it's done. A crackling, hyper-modern version of Shakespeare's slightly underrated play, which I have always been fond of.

The performances are astonishing, in particular Ralph Fiennes and Vanessa Redgrave (my kingdom for Vanessa Redgrave!). Fiennes doesn't seem to have done more Shakespeare movies but I wish he would - he could be a new Branagh. Oh look and there are Jessica Chastain and Brian Cox being brilliant too.

People who moan about Shakespare being made 'modern': you are so, so wrong. Doing Shakespeare 'in his time' (what does that even mean, I wonder) is to kill Shakespeare, to turn his plays into stuffed animals that gather dust on the shelf. Movies like these breathe life into the text and do what is so important with Shakespeare, what the text demands: show how it is relevant for our time.

This is a play about manipulation, of the people, by the media, by populist politicians, and its consequences. This Coriolanus lives in a mediacracy, keeping true to his conscience in a world where outward appearance is everything (show us your scars then!).

Shakespeare is brought to our time, with his own words intact, so that we can engage with him, in the *now*, rather than look at it like a museum piece. This Coriolanus is up there with Julie Taymor's Titus and Ian McKellen's Richard III. I wonder when we'll see a major modern adaptation of Julius Caesar.

By the way I am not saying Shakespaere should always be modernised - a case in point is the recent and magnificent Hollow Crown. But Shakespeare must and will always be made new, and it is a joy when it is done so well.

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