Directed by: Roland Emmerich
Starring: Rhys Ifans, Vanessa Redgrave, Joely Richardson, David Thewlis, Xavier Samuel, Sebastian Armesto, Rafe Spall, Edward Hogg, Jamie Campbell Bower
Distributed by: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 130 Minutes
Film: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 3.5 out of 5 stars
This film has had a lot of critique about the its story being hard to follow. I have to agree it is very confusing skipping between past and present but I was able to keep up with the story and really enjoy it. The performances in the film are absolutely fantastic Rhys Ifans, Sebastian Armesto and Vanessa Redgrave really deliver! Rafe Spall, who portrays William Shakespeare, plays the role as an absolute dunce but that is on purpose…so he does it well. The Blu-ray presentation is absolutely flawless. The sound is also very sharp intertwining the score throughout the film. The visual effects in the film are very notable as this film uses new VFX CG technology in order to beautifully recreate old London, circa 1550-1604. If you are able to catch on with the confusing story, this is packed with wonderful visuals and acting that makes it worth checking out.
“Anonymous” speculates about the of many century old question asking if Shakespeare actually wrote the plays that he is credited for. The film focuses on Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford (Rhys Ifans) who secretly writes plays as an outlet for his expression. When he meets the playwright Ben Jonson (Sebastian Armesto), he convinces his to pose the plays as his own in order to get them to be performed. The plays are posed as being written by Anonymous. During the climax of an applause and the request for the author, an illiterate actor named William Shakespeare (Rafe Spall) claims the credit. Of course from this point on there is plenty of mass corruption and deceit that unravels.
The special features are great and worth taking a look at. The commentary track from director Roland Emmerich and writer John Orloff is a great companion to the film. There are three deleted scenes and two extended scenes included, also worth checking out. Since I spoke a lot about the visual effects in the film, I am happy that there is a very detailed look into them in the feature “More Than Special Effects”, which runs almost 15 minutes long. “Who is the Real William Shakespeare?” runs about 10 minutes discusses the evidence provided in the film about Shakespeare. Lastly, there is a featuring about the film’s casting called “Speak the Speech…”, which runs about just over 15 minutes and is very detailed.