Tom Hiddleston as Coriolanus in Coriolanus [6x HQ] (x)
"A strapping hawk-like figure, Hiddleston exudes the arrogance and dangerous charisma of one of nature’s cruel head-prefects. But he also hauntingly hints at the terrible isolation of this hero who has been emotionally stunted and turned into a killing machine by his ambitious domineering mother. This is in no way a sentimentalised portrayal. Hiddleston delivers Coriolanus’s speeches of contempt for the plebeians with a blistering scorn and mocks them with a wheedling parody of subservience when forced to woo their votes for the consulship. The same single-minded qualities that make him a great warrior are a political liability in peacetime and the scheming tribunes of the people (sneaky, smug Elliott Levey and Helen Schlesinger) find it easy exploit his intransigence, luring him into a disastrous proto-Fascist rant before the senate that leaves his patrician mentor Menenius (wily, understated Mark Gatiss) in gobsmacked despair. Stealthily, though, Hiddleston’s magnificent performance compels you to feel what an awful fate it is to be Coriolanus. There’s an extraordinary sequence here in which, blood-soaked after battle, he stands under a shower of water gasping with pain. We are suddenly privy to the lonely willpower of the man behind the myth. In the scene in which she, his wife (played by Borgen star Birgitte Hjort Sorensen) and his son beseech him to spare Rome, Hiddleston shows you, with great delicacy, the confused, aching sadness of this belated thaw and Coriolanus’s clear tragic recognition that it will cost him his life." [X]
"Out goes roaring military might, the thunderous soldier, and in comes the diamond-bright gleam of attack-ready energy. Yet from the few tiny glimpses of the power he’s keeping damped down, the threat of what Coriolanus will unleash remains ever-present, adding immeasurably to his all-important status. Not blowing his stack too early makes him appear far more dangerous and exciting to watch. Furthermore, Hiddleston fascinatingly makes Coriolanus a man who chooses not to listen rather than someone shouting too loud to hear. With his thought processes so legible, his arrogance becomes less of a foregone conclusion and, therefore, properly tragic. The control of stagecraft is everywhere apparent, not least in the added, silent scene in which Coriolanus, released from public display and privately exhausted from battle, stands alone. Caught center-stage in Mark Henderson’s ferocious white light, water from high above the set surges down onto Hiddleston’s bloody body, spraying into the dark like sparks off steel. A magnificent image in its own right, it’s actually making audiences see and feel the character’s brutally defiant self-determination." [X]
"The actor memorably captures both sides of Coriolanus’s personality. In the battle of the first act we see him in all his gory glory, drenched in blood and winning the fight single-handed. In Hiddleston’s performance he’s a lean, mean killing machine, and there is an extraordinary moment in which he takes a shower after the battle and gasps with pain as his wounds turn the water blood red.
But in almost every other respect, Coriolanus is inadequate, an emotional cripple in thrall to his domineering mother, and a crashing snob who can’t bear sucking up to the plebs to get their vote. Here, too, Hiddleston is persuasive, and Rourke’s production excitingly captures the play’s political process as Coriolanus goes from hero to zero, thanks to the pride of his own personality and the machinations of the tribunes who, unlike the awkward hero, know exactly how to bend the mob to their devious will.” [X]
"We are reminded this is a man who rejects bribes and whose first thought, after a bloody battle, is for a man who gave him shelter. Yet Hiddleston also embodies the character’s reckless impetuosity and political intransigence: he handles wonderfully the tirade in the senate against the people and their tribunes and leaves his fellow patricians shaking their heads in despair at his stunning naivety. Whether Coriolanus qualifies as a tragic hero is open to debate; but Hiddleston gives us a man ultimately destroyed by his own headlong nature." [X]