My Thoughts on Anonymous
For most of his career Roland Emmerich became well known for his knack of blowing up the world real good. He is also one of the most critically loathed directors, with all but two of films receiving a Rotten rating on Rotten Tomatoes. I personally didn’t mind his disaster films and even used his films The Day After Tomorrow and 2012 earlier this year as the subject of an essay I wrote as a submission to a film journal (the essay’s available for viewing on the “film writing” page of this blog).
However, it seems that Emmerich has tired of disaster films and he has moved on to make this film based an a conspiracy theory stated William Shakespeare was not the real author of his famous plays.
In essence, the story of the film is that the 17th Earl of Oxford, Edward de Vere (Rhys Ifans) was the real writer of the plays, which were somewhat based on his life. Because he was technically forbidden to write, the plays were credited to Shakespeare, who is shown in the film to be a drunken buffoon.
I really have to say that, for the most part, I found the film to be a dull bore, both in story and colour scheme. The film is quite long (130 min) and since the overall story is quite simple (Shakespeare didn’t write his plays), it was really hard for me to stay interested for the entire film, with me even fearing that I would fall asleep. The plot of the film (which includes many flashbacks) just tells way too much information and it was a bit difficult for me to keep track of all the plot developments. I did think that the film picked up a little bit towards the end with some interesting plot revelations, however by this time I was already fatigued with the film and I was just waiting for it to be over.
If there was one thing I did like about the film, it was bookend scenes that featured Derek Jacobi as a narrator of a play that supposedly made up the main plot of the film. I almost wish that the film played for with this “movie as play” style. It would have made for a much more interesting experience.
Overall, despite being a complete bore at times, Anonymous was still somewhat watchable. That said, I think Roland Emmerich should stick to blowing up the world.