Wednesday, October 26, 2011


A man steps out of a sedan, walks into a Broadway theater and onto the stage where he delivers a monologue informing us that there has never been a script or sonnet written in William Shakespeare's hand. He then offers us a tale as to who may have truly authored The Bard's scripts. We are then taken back to Queen Elizabeth's England and in a story involving court intrigue, duplicity, and murder and learn how a disgraced Earl submitted plays to the poet Ben Johnson which were presented by the oafish and largely illiterate Shakespeare. "Anonymous" is a well surmised and mounted story (emphasis on story) from director Roland Emmerich who also helmed big budget blockbusters such as "Independence Day" and "2012" and is an odd choice to head this production. I found the film a bit too glossy, and his use of CGI in some fly over sequences to be distracting, but all and all Emmerich does a nice job of juggling John Orloff's name heavy, time crossing narrative. I wish the cast had been stronger. Rafe Spall is too much of a caricature as Shakespeare and Sebastian Armesto is abysmal as Johnson. However, Rhys Ifans is wonderful in a brooding performance as Edward, Earl of Oxford and Vanessa Redgrave is typically great as the Queen (she's now played both Elizabeth and her sister Mary). The movie is presented as authentic and I think people will take more of it as fact than they should, if any, but it is nonetheless an intriguing theory and a sumptuous film.