05 August 2012

Film: Anonymous (2011)

Thoughts: Roland Emmerich of Independence Day, The Day After Tomorrow and 2012 tackles the perhaps nefarious legend of William Shakespeare and Edward DeVere in the not-very explosive Anonymous. I guess you could say I enjoyed this flick, but it certainly could have done with a little judicious trimming.

Easily clearing 2 hours in its runtime; Anonymous unfortunately has to fall back on familiar costume drama tropes to maintain the viewer interest. The acting is fine enough, and the costumes and set design are pretty damn fantastic. But when you break it down, the costumes and set design kinda HAVE to be good for any period drama, because the bar for the genre is already as high as it can be for any film daring to take the plunge.

But my biggest issue is the script.
It's not that there's anything inherently WRONG with the script, its just that there's so many names, events and pieces of history- both character wise and culturally- that need to be expounded upon to make the wheels turn. So when you have a whole bunch of people hailing from various social strata reeling off countless bits of info, you find that your mind tends to wander more than it should. So given that, it falls onto the actors to carry the dramatic burden, and with such staid dialogue it becomes a rather unfortunate exercise in futility. Which sucks, cause I like Rhys Ifans.

I mean don't get me wrong- it's still an enjoyable romp; and with a fair bit of bodice-ripping and smouldering looks to keep eyebrows raised you can't complain too much. But a slog is still a slog, and Anonymous tends to drop viewers into the mud of specifics about as often as it puts it's characters (16th century Britain must've been pretty damn muddy, if this film is to be believed).

It has some highlights; like when it runs through the rise of the proxy "Shakespeare" and the various productions of his most iconic plays, and of course mister Rhys Ifans playing the tortured Edward DeVere, but altogether, I can only give out a


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