Anonymous

"OK"

Anonymous Review


Based on the long-mooted Oxfordian theory about the true authorship of Shakespeare's plays and poems, this film undermines its own point by over-egging the story. An over-complicated script and arch performances don't help the case.

In 16th century London Edward (Ifans), Earl of Oxford, has a passion for writing, which is forbidden by the puritan leaders of the day. So he passes his anonymous work to playwright Ben Jonson (Armesto), who allows actor William Shakespeare (Spall) to take the credit. Edward's life is inextricably linked with Queen Elizabeth (Redgrave): they were lovers several years ago (played by Bower and Richardson), and the political fallout is still being controlled by William Cecil (Thewlis) and his son Robert (Hogg).

The film is set with several framing devices, starting on a present-day Broadway stage as Derek Jacobi introduces the story, which then jumps back and forth in time to reveal its melodramatic secrets. As everything falls into place, there's more than a whiff of soap opera to the saga, complete with illegitimate children, arranged marriages and shocking revelations.

Meanwhile, Shakespeare's plays and poems are portrayed with passion and energy.

In other words, the filmmakers' main point seems to be that it doesn't really matter who wrote them, because they're still the pinnacle of English-language art. So as the backstage wrangling cranks up into a major political scandal, it starts to feel a little pointless.

In the central role, Ifans is camp and so overwrought that he begins looking a little silly. Redgrave is more effective as the offhanded, passionate monarch.

Thewlis and Hogg are the requisite villains, evil for evil's sake, which gives them little chance to add texture. And while Spall is engaging comic relief as the clueless actor, he seems to be in a much more naturalistic movie than everyone else.

In the end, the film is watchable mainly because the plot is so outrageously contentious. We probably could have accepted the central authorship story if it hadn't been wrapped in such a lurid stream messy relationships. So in the end, we dismiss the whole thing out as just another crazy fantasy from Emmerich. Now maybe he can get back to destroying the world.



Anonymous

Facts and Figures

Run time: 130 mins

In Theaters: Friday 28th October 2011

Box Office USA: $4.5M

Distributed by: Sony Pictures

Production compaines: Centropolis Entertainment, Columbia Pictures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 46%
Fresh: 78 Rotten: 90

IMDB: 6.9 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: , Volker Engel, Christoph Fisser, Larry J. Franco, Robert Leger

Starring: as Young Oxford, as Edward de Vere, as William Cecil, as Princess Elizabeth Tudor, as Queen Elizabeth I, Sebastian Armesto as Ben Jonson, as William Shakespeare, as Robert Cecil, as Earl of Southampton, as Earl of Essex, as Young Earl of Oxford, Paolo De Vita as Francesco, as Christopher Marlowe, as Thomas Dekker, Tony Way as Thomas Nashe, Julian Bleach as Captain Richard Pole, as Prologue

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Hampstead Movie Review

Hampstead Movie Review

Deliberately appealing to older audiences, this undemanding comedy-drama comes with a hint of social relevance...

The Book of Henry Movie Review

The Book of Henry Movie Review

Apparently, this offbeat script had been making the rounds in Hollywood for some 20 years...

Transformers: The Last Knight Movie Review

Transformers: The Last Knight Movie Review

With this fifth Transformers movie, it seems clear that Michael Bay is still trying to...

Churchill Movie Review

Churchill Movie Review

This drama about the iconic British prime minister tells a darkly personal story set over...

Gifted Movie Review

Gifted Movie Review

This is one of those films that dances right up to the edge of soapy...

Whitney: Can I Be Me Movie Review

Whitney: Can I Be Me Movie Review

Notorious British filmmaker Nick Broomfield teams up with Austrian music documentary producer Rudi Dolezal to...

The Mummy Movie Review

The Mummy Movie Review

To launch their new Dark Universe franchise, Universal has taken an approach that mixes murky...

Advertisement
My Cousin Rachel Movie Review

My Cousin Rachel Movie Review

Daphne du Maurier's 1951 mystery-romance novel has been adapted for theatre, radio, TV and film,...

Wilson Movie Review

Wilson Movie Review

It's never helpful when a comedy becomes a bit too smug about its own quirkiness....

Interlude in Prague Movie Review

Interlude in Prague Movie Review

A fictionalised story from the life of Wolfgang Mozart, this lavishly produced period drama is...

The Hippopotamus Movie Review

The Hippopotamus Movie Review

This British satirical comedy may be a bit of a mess, but since it's based...

Detour Movie Review

Detour Movie Review

This may look like a rather typical American indie thriller, but British filmmaker Christopher Smith...

Wonder Woman Movie Review

Wonder Woman Movie Review

Boldly optimistic, this action-packed adventure breathes fresh life into the DC universe with a welcome...

Baywatch Movie Review

Baywatch Movie Review

Clearly, it's a risky proposition adapting a cheesy vintage TV series for the big screen:...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.