Anonymous

Film

Period and swashbuckler films

Rhys Ifans, right, in Anonymous

Rhys Ifans, right, in Anonymous

Time Out rating:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>3</span>/5

User ratings:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>3</span>/5
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Time Out says

Tue Oct 25 2011

Gadzooks! Roland Emmerich, the master of multiplex mayhem, takes time out from destroying the world to concoct this delirious historical romp which suggests that Shakespeare’s plays were not the product of a failed actor from the West Midlands, but sprang from the mind of rebellious aristocrat, the Earl of Oxford (Rhys Ifans). Keen insight and rapier-like subtlety are not Emmerich’s strong suits, so instead he has chosen the path of pure excess: bodices are ripped, swords unsheathed, moustachioes waxed, pantaloons tightened and scenery chewed; every villain wears a dastardly leer and every hero a proud glint.

But ‘Anonymous’ is not simply slapstick and silliness: John Orloff’s meaty script handles the central art versus politics debate in broad but convincing terms, and his placing of Shakespeare’s texts in a contemporary political context lends the fiery on-stage scenes within the newly built Globe theatre a genuine charge. The cast is strong, and while shameless hams like Rafe Spall as boozy, womanising gadabout Will Shakespeare and Edward Hogg as hunched, Richard III-alike Robert Cecil tend to steal the show, there are moments of subtlety, with the mother-daughter team of Joely Richardson and Vanessa Redgrave bringing unexpected pathos to their roles as Queen Bess. But the most pleasing aspect of ‘Anonymous’ is its sheer sense of fun. Think of it as a high-end Christmas panto, as a red-faced, enthusiastic cast are put through the paces by their barking, domineering director. Louder, faster, bigger, more!
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Release details

UK release:

Fri Oct 28, 2011

Duration:

130 mins

Users say

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<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>0</span>/5

Average User Rating

3.2 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:7
  • 4 star:7
  • 3 star:5
  • 2 star:7
  • 1 star:0
LiveReviews|38
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robert dean, jr.

glorious genius! bravo! to roland emmerich! this film is accurate! i am sick and tired of reading the reviews of stupid professors and "historians" who are offended by this movie! edward de vere was one of the greatest human beings to ever walk this earth! can you possible imagine the pain of never being given the credit for these plays? this film is a work of genius. genius lauds genius!

robert dean, jr.

glorious genius! bravo! to roland emmerich! this film is accurate! i am sick and tired of reading the reviews of stupid professors and "historians" who are offended by this movie! edward de vere was one of the greatest human beings to ever walk this earth! can you possible imagine the pain of never being given the credit for these plays? this film is a work of genius. genius lauds genius!

John Cooper

Yes, three stars is rather generous for this confusing drama, which tries to take Shakespeare's maxim, good theatre does not depend on historical accuracy and apply the same to the film medium . . . Thus we have two hours of glaring anachronisms as we see the Shakespeare canon being thrown into the cinematic blender and given a good whisking. I'm not an Oxford don, but I know enough about Shakespeare and his times to know that this particular tale is extremely far--fetched .. The screenplay uses complexity to mask its anarchronisms, . .almost every scene is dimly lit . ( yes we know they only had candles in the sixteeth century) William Shakespeare, it seems, was a congenital idiot .who managed to fool the whole of Elizabethan London into thinking he was a Renaissance genius .. . . However, the film has its moments, and although not a patch on Shakespeare in Love in terms of artistic acomplishment,, it attempts at least to engage the critical faculties . . . .

Donny Duke

Anonymous Maybe Now I hardly explain the doors You see we’re engaged in. I shudder to think Plebian; No my lord. Wield captain You know David. On the count of three They let him, The new earl And his bank rank. You can’t reach them By Winfield Or Snyder Poet. To get in You listen. You hold the music. You must follow – Son of a bitch! – (You know it, Come on) Shakespeare.

stevhors

Oh dear, I thought I knew a bit of Tudor history but the first 30 mins of this film are so confusing with flash backs and flash forwards I was totally lost in the incestuous plot, writing this 2 hours later I'm still not sure who was related to who...with better screenwriting this would have been a much better film; evocation of Tudor London was well done and really well acted, but not worth the 3 stars from Timeout I think

Gort

This movie is like that beginning of "Amadeus" when Salieri is walking all excited in that Viennese hall filled with people because he knows Mozart is one of them. "This man had written his first concerto at the age of 4... his first symphony at 7, a full-scale opera at 12!" he keeps telling himself wondering the halls expecting Mozart to be this serious, profound young man but then when he meets him he gets slapped down with "That was Mozart! That giggling, dirty creature I'd just seen crawling on the floor." and Forman too had to battle with people who were convinced that Mozart was composing on white pedestal surrounded with golden bars and elephant tusks. Well this move is told from that point of view. Shakespeare's plays must have been written by a distinguished person in some sort of laboratory who was joining power of the universe with derogative human nature in order to directly shape the world. But really? Shakespeare was not a walking institution. He probably didn't care about calligraphy or even the design of his autograph, he was more concerned about entertaining the people. OK but what about the rest of it? It was an OK historical drama with some interesting scenes but kind of stillborn on account that it was built on this falsehood and I expected to enjoy the movie for the sheer of it but it wasn't much possible since it's authors are so infatuated with this belief that Shakespeare was a fraud. Even Derek Jacobi himself believes this.

Gwyn

I thought it was absolutely FAB! Had to see it a second time.........And if it was still on in Manchester I'd go and see it again! ..............Twice.

Gwyn

I thought it was absolutely FAB! Had to see it a second time.........And if it was still on in Manchester I'd go and see it again! ..............Twice.

Rich

The visual effects of period London are simply gorgeous. We can call it anti-Shakespeare in love. The film is highly entertaining, the plot is intriguing and presents an interesting argument.

Rich

The visual effects of period London are simply gorgeous. We can call it anti-Shakespeare in love. The film is highly entertaining, the plot is intriguing and presents an interesting argument.

Tate L

The film was written beautifully, and I enjoyed every moment of it. I knew there were going to be negative reviews, but I think some people need to look past all the authorship debate and enjoy the film for what it is. Whatever you think about Shakespeare, you can respect a great film.

Tom Larson

This movie was very entertaining! The story seemed off in some places but the scenes of London and the Glober Theater were fantastic! And how Roland portrayed Shakespeare was brilliant!

Tom Larson

This movie was very entertaining! The story seemed off in some places but the scenes of London and the Glober Theater were fantastic! And how Roland portrayed Shakespeare was brilliant!

liked it

I liked this a lot - fantastic sweeping scenes of frozen thames and Elizabethan London, great wigs! Interesting cast - handsome Rhys Ifans, ancient David Thewlis. I came away thinking I wasn't sure about it, because for every incredible scene, there seemed to be another daft badly-acted one - but actually the incredible scenes have stayed with me and the daft ones haven't. Regardless of historical inaccuracies, this was a gorgeous-looking, sometimes brilliantly acted film.

Paul

Lots of ham for fans of BBC tudor costume dramas, and a surprise to see Rylance and Jacobi turn up to take the money. If you can totally suspend belief then it's a fair night out for an adult story rather than robots bashing each other.

Cooper Timble

It was a very interesting film, and I thought it was very good. The acting my Rhys Ifans was incredible, I saw him at the premiere in London. Though, I would have thought that Roland would be more interested in the Francis Bacon theory rather than Edward De Vere, but it made for a great film.

Cooper Timble

It was a very interesting film, and I thought it was very good. The acting my Rhys Ifans was incredible, I saw him at the premiere in London. Though, I would have thought that Roland would be more interested in the Francis Bacon theory rather than Edward De Vere, but it made for a great film.

Richard

With all the debate going around this film I was excited to finally see it. I will say that I surprisingly liked it. It kept me interested the whole time and Roland knew what he was talking about. He got the facts of the Earl of Oxford correct. I do believe it was the 17th Earl of Oxford, take a look at some of J.T. Looney's research.

Matt

I liked this movie, I actually enjoyed the political debate it carries. I believe it was Francis Bacon and the research Wilmot has done. It is really interesting, take a look at it. As far as the 17th Earl of Oxford goes, the film made the story really interesting and compelling.

Susan

I loved the film. It has an interesting argument, but it is a film, so it is supposed to entertain. People get too caught up in the argument and can't enjoy the film.

Cappybear

Utterly boring and hellishly overlong, with no allowance for fact and chronology getting in the way of the storyline. A minor point, perhaps, but here goes. The actors who played Shakespeare and Marlowe had a passing resemblance to the playwrights, but the bloke who played Ben Jonson looked nothing like him. Was this because Jonson was rather squat and ugly?

Peter Farey

Daryl is right. Ian and Mary confidently state that Marlowe and Shakespeare were "already in vogue before Marlowe's death" and "producing work simultaneously". Easy to assert but far harder to prove. There is evidence that the following four plays, with rather longer titles, were , in the repertory of Lord Strange's and Earl of Pembroke's Men before Marlowe's supposed death in 1593: "Henry the Sixth", "The First part of the Contention", "The True Tragedy of Richard Duke of York" and "The Taming of A Shrew". There is no evidence from that time that Shakespeare had anything to do with them however, and indeed the authorship of all of them has been much disputed. Furthermore, when Francis Meres listed twelve plays by Shakespeare in 1598, none of them was mentioned. In fact it was not until 30 years after Marlowe's demise that the three "Henry VI" plays and "The Taming of the Shrew" (plays believed to have been those earlier four, albeit with significant differences) were finally associated with Shakespeare in the First Folio of his works. So did he write those earlier versions or simply "improve" them later? Nobody knows.

franck 0568

I don't understand all the fuss about the veritacity of the story, like amadeous, it is very very good(never thought I will said that about a emmerich movie, I will learn), great decor, great costume, breat rhyss performance .I feel people who did not like this movie, had already their critics ready before going to see it. sorry for spelling I am french.

cosmic dancer

Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz zzzzzzzzzzzzzz Elizabethan England??? Best forgotten - like this movie. Back to sleep. Wake me up when a decent movie comes along. zzzzzzzzzzzz

frosty

One of the best films I have ever seen. Fabulous script, brilliant cast; setting, costume, cinematography -wonderful, wonderful, wonderful! We wanted to stay in our seats and watch it again. Rhys Ifans should get an Oscar!

frosty

One of the best films I have ever seen. Fabulous script, brilliant cast; setting, costume, cinematography -wonderful, wonderful, wonderful! We wanted to stay in our seats and watch it again. Rhys Ifans should get an Oscar!

jaycee

Mike Rubbo = please stop using this film review site to publicise your views and work on the Marlowe theory. This site is about anonymous. Go and talk at Speakers corner or somewhere else. I liked the film, which looked wonderful, but was more serious and downbeat than the reviewer said, and a bit confusing initially

Iain Robb

The idea that Shakespeare never wrote his plays is surious at best, though we have proof he sometimes used collaboators just as artists have done and sculptors. What's more to the point, it needn't have mattered if this film had been approached a different way. I went to see this not expecting a masterpiece, but unprepared for the level of innacuracy and historical revision, which amounted to an absolute fiction regarding everyone involved, and even its period. The only way to have approached this project was on the level of camp entertainment. Sadly, though the film can't really be taken seriously, the scriptwriter, director and actors take it far too seriously indeed; the pacing is completely leade, characters either overdeveloped or underdeveloped, and it is already overlong by the point when, its last improbable plot twist finished, it goes into a half-hour long coda which serves no purpose other than to erase the audience's last will to live. Desperately moribund and bloated, the result is both preposterous and boring, the second adjective denoting a cardinal sin. By no means the worst film of the year, but by no means even a good one. I had expected a bit better than this. a moment of unintentional comedy comes at the death of this whole self-indulgent act of collective vanity, when the orator seems to be being taken seriously by his audience while laying out to them the 'truth' despite the fact they'd have wanted to pelt him with rotten cabbages for his tall stories well before the end of his spiel.

neil paterson

i cant see what the fuss is all about. i loved every bonkers minute of it. tosh from start to finish but very well made and acted tosh and it also looks stunning..

Mike

Hmmm. Fun ? This film has hardly an ounce of fun in it. I can think what Tom H means when he says that. Maybe just trying to keep 'in' with Mr Emmerich who he interviewed on stage last night ? Two hours of waiting for something to engage us & it really didnt.

JameB

This film sounds as tedious as fools and their conspiracy theories, maybe there will be a few laughs to be had. Let's Miss Redgrave have yet another pious wave of her tired flag.Go and see Tintin, good to see Spielberg's back on form

maureen

No true scholars or Universities believe this sordid , incestuous theory , why should anyone else? Looney was indeed aptly named. Did you know this kind of thinking is actually recognized as a mental illness? The movie will fail, as it deserves to.

Lily Dean

The theory of Bacon is far more interesting and believable. It is thought that the true author must have been a lawyer, Bacon was lawyer even though it was thought he to have disliked his legal career, only going into it due to parental pressure and his own ambition; the writing of plays and poems provided him with the creative outlet he wanted.

ThomasD

I think that the argument of the Earl of Oxford is very convincing. J.T. Looney has interesting theories that come up in the film. When Looney investigated Elizabethan literature for stylistic similarities with the works attributed to Shakespeare. He focused on Venus and Adonis. When he came across Oxford's poem at the start of Palgrave's Golden Treasury, it made him believe that it was Oxford that had done the Shakespeare works.

ThomasD

I think that the argument of the Earl of Oxford is very convincing. J.T. Looney has interesting theories that come up in the film. When Looney investigated Elizabethan literature for stylistic similarities with the works attributed to Shakespeare. He focused on Venus and Adonis. When he came across Oxford's poem at the start of Palgrave's Golden Treasury, it made him believe that it was Oxford that had done the Shakespeare works.