Sunday, October 30, 2011


Movie Name: Anonymous
Year of Release: 2011
Director: Rolland Emmerich
Stars: Rhys Ifans, Vanessa Redgrave, David Thewlis, Joely Richardson, Jamie Campbell Bower, Sebastian Armesto, Rafe Spall, Edward Hogg, Xavier Samuel, Sam Reid, Paolo de Vita, Robert Emms, Derek Jacobi, Mark Rylance
Genre: Drama
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 6

Rolland Emmerich, director of such big budget films as "Independence Day", "Godzilla", "The Day After Tomorrow" and "2012", is back with a film that is definitely of a smaller scale, but with a premise that is equally ambitious and epic. The film follows the premise that William Shakespeare, was originally an actor, but not a playwright whatsoever. The film focuses on the story of Edward de Vere, the Earl of Oxford, a prodigy who wrote all the plays that are attributed to Shakespeare. Edward who lost his parents at a young age, is taken in by Sir William Cecil, principal advisor to the queen.  Under his tutelage, all the arts are banished from Edward's life, something that he rebels against for most of his life. He continues to produce literary work, and finds an unknown writer through whom he thinks he can place his work to be performed. However this unknown playwright has a voice of his own, and does not wish to silence it, and Shakespeare becomes the front for all this talent. This sets in motion a ripple effect that extends to the court and to a succession battle that is taking place.
Unlike the previous films from Rolland Emmerich, "Anonymous" has a rich screenplay that allows for characters to have depth and substance. The film has a controversial subject matter, but behind the conspiracy theory and the court games, the film is really about the quest for someone to be heard. Edward is an artist who longs to express himself, even if someone else has to be the face of his own words. Rhys Ifans and his sad eyes, convey the longing and despair of a person who has been silenced and denied for a lifetime. The film correctly allows him to be a fully fledged character, unlike William Shakespeare who ends up being more of a caricature - which is where the film also falters. The film is nonetheless riveting, with great acting from Ifans, Vanessa Redgrave and David Thewlis, great cinematography from  Anna Foerster.  A film worth watching!