07 November 2011


Strikingly awesome poster. 'Nuff said.
(CREDIT: found on Wikipedia)
Shakespeare, a fraud? Try saying that to your English teacher. I know I did... playfully.

The greatest playwrite of the English language. Any pieces of fiction writen in books, sung in poetry, and performed on stage or film is subject to copywrite thanks to a dead man. The Einstein, the god, of literature. And it has been a solid fact for hundreds of years. Denial and skepticism will send you to the guillitine, electric chair, or the gallows.

But honestly, this whole debate about the authorship of Shakespeare is long and heavily researched to the point that an average human brain will hemorrhage. You might catch me spending more time in a library than the science lab, but even I don't have the attention span to tackle a controversy on life support thanks to stubborn scholars. I'll stick to extensive research on vampire mythology, thank you very much. Both might be overrated topics, but I have more patience with the latter.

Anonymous is a movie you should not take as historically acurate or factual. (For that matter, doubt that anything "based on a true story" is completely authentic.) And unless you are a Shakespearian scholar or history nut, don't overanalyze every single thing this film does wrong. Again, your brain will explode and I won't be there to clean you up.

To simplify things this film states that Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford was the real "Shakespeare" who gave his written works to Ben Johnson, who was to take the credit. But the real actor Shakespeare decided to take it for himself. ...It's complicated.

Standing on its own as a film, Anonymous is very entertaining. The look and atmosphere of London is absolutely beautiful - though the darker imagery made it felt more Victorian than Elizabethan, especially when it feels dark and cold all the time. (Even though I went to England over the summer, I had no clue the country was always like winter!) However, the cast is very good and solid with great performances. Shakespeare was an annoying drunken idiot, but he grows on you albiet very slowly. Everyone else... great. There is a lot of personality in the cast, but it gets so hard to remember names past the "big players."

The story, however, is a mess. The main cast is easy to recognize, but everyone's roles blur together and create an entangled confusion. Once Anonymous dives into the political drama - or "facts" - it gets really hard to stay on top on the banter. Some information was either extraneous or poorly conveyed to the casual viewer. Furthermore, most of the characters contradict their historical counterparts.

Worst of all the sequence of events were severely disconnected as the jump cuts jerk you back and forth between various periods of time. At first, the film was nice enough to give you the years but later you will be left asking "when in the heck are we?" The flow of time simply makes no sense.

If you can easily sit through an entertaining movie, you might enjoy this. Everyone else might bust their brains into the wall. As for me, I might or might not watch it again to pick up on the bullshit. It looks nice, but the storytelling is pretty darn confusing. At the end of the day, this conspiracy theory did not make me believe everything really happened. But then again I'm mature enough...

Maybe I'm too moderate for this type of thing...

2 out of 5

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