While Rome Burns

Ralph Fiennes and Shakespeare go to war

The Weinstein Co.

Ralph Fiennes stars in a scene from Coriolanus.

Dec. 2

The TV news channels have announced that civil liberties have been suspended owing to popular unrest in "a place calling itself Rome." It's not the Eternal City of scented majesty but a contemporary vision of what the Italian capital could become if the nation went bankrupt (timely!) and exploded into anarchy. In this tinderbox, General Caius Martius (Ralph Fiennes) is the match. A vaunted warrior back from the Empire's provinces, where he fought the Volscian leader Tullus Aufidius (Gerard Butler), he quells an indigenous revolt by denying grain supplies to the rabble who would Occupy the Coliseum.

In Coriolanus,...

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