- Director:Roland Emmerich
- Cast:Rhys Ifans, Vanessa Redgrave, Xavier Samuel
- Release Date:March 07, 2012
- The Film:3.5
- The Disc:3.0
“...a visually lavish experience...”
A political thriller about the authorship debate of the work of William Shakespeare may not seem likely material for the man behind The Patriot and Independence Day, but director Roland Emmerich fashions a resounding and passionate thrill ride in Anonymous. Rhys Ifans plays Edward De Vere, the Earl of Oxford, who has a gift for writing, but fears the shame that publishing his sinful tales will bring on his family. Hiring a young actor named William Shakespeare (Rafe Spall) to pose as the author of his plays in his stead, the Earl watches anonymously from the stalls as they are acted out on stage. Oh, and life is complicated by a saucy affair with Queen Elizabeth I in his younger years.
Impeccable performances aside, Anonymous is a visually lavish experience, recreating Elizabethan England with unprecedented vividness. With elaborate costumes, candle-lit sets and epic swooping shots of the streets of London, the film is at times breathtaking. Although the continuous chopping between time periods is difficult to follow, the screenplay moves at a blistering pace. With its tongue firmly placed in cheek, Anonymous is an exciting, gripping and passionate ode to the power of words and storytelling.
The DVD includes a commentary with Emmerich and writer John Orloff (A Mighty Heart, Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'hoole) plus the featurette ‘Who is the Real William Shakespeare', whilst the Blu-ray contains a few other featurettes.