The other actors do their best to help Fiennes define this curious anti-hero. Incapable of playing the role of peacetime compromiser, his Coriolanus comes across as a warrior who simply can't function without a war.
When Caius Martius heads into battle against the invading Volscians, we get 20-odd minutes of brutal street-fighting with RPGs and crackling automatic weapons. The film was shot in Serbia; dial a few decades back and it could have been set there.
You buy the concept, from start to finish, because it feels strong and purposeful and in sync with Shakespeare's own vision of a malleable, fickle populace and a leader raised by the ultimate stage mother.
Fiennes and Logan haven't made a definitive Coriolanus, but they've made a sensationally gripping one. They have the pulse of the play, its firm martial beats and its messy political clatter. They tell a damn good story.
As directing debuts go, Coriolanus could easily pass for the work of an accomplished master, and though the storytelling lends itself to easy confusion (owing more to the source material than to the execution), the emotional impact reads loud and clear.