Thursday, August 25, 2005

A Director to Adapt Each of Shakespeare's Plays #5 -- CORIOLANUS directed by Oliver Stone

The Plot:

Coriolanus is an aristocratic Roman general who couldn’t care less that the common man can’t afford a decent sack of wheat. When he wants to be consul however, he needs those votes. Add to this the fact that Brutus and Sicinus are out there running tons of negative ads reminding the people exactly what Coriolanus stands for and we’ve got trouble. When Coriolanus can’t win the election, he gets an army together and attacks Rome instead.

Why Stone?

Unlike most of Shakespeare’s plays, Coriolanus has not aged very well at all. I would go so far as to call it his most inaccessible play for a modern audience. It’s steeped in social concerns and politics that often seem to be too specific to their own age. What the play needs is somebody who can cut through the lengthy political discourse and make the connections to our modern era. If anyone would be able to rescue the play and make it watchable, I think it’s Stone. As demonstrated by JFK and Nixon, Stone has the ability to contextualize political ideas and make them entertaining and engaging for the viewer. If Stone adds a bit of controversy and sensationalism, all the better. This play needs it desperately.

Stone films I have seen:

1. Talk Radio ***1/2
2. Platoon ***1/2
3. JFK ***1/2
4. Nixon ***
5. U-Turn **1/2
6. Natural Born Killers **
7. The Doors **
8. Born On the Fourth of July *1/2


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