spent most of his career destroying the world in grand
computer-generated fashion, German writer-producer-director Roland
Emmerich (Independence Day, The Day After Tomorrow,
2012) apparently is ready to transition into a new filmmaking
phase. Working with screenwriter John Orloff (A Mighty Heart),
Emmerich sets his sights on ripping apart the notion that William
Shakespeare was the actual author of the titles ascribed to his name.
In addition, this stunning play for credibility hinges on couching
this story within a political thriller about the succession of Queen
Elizabeth I (with the daughter-mother combination of Joely Richardson
and Vanessa Redgrave splitting performing duties) and the lurking
threat of the Essex Rebellion.
Anonymous lives up to the name,
as so much of the incestuous and murky political intrigue hangs over
the proceedings, obscuring the dramatic impact of a talented British
cast including David Thewlis, Derek Jacobi (relegated to a
present-day cameo) and an intensely subdued Rhys Ifans as the Earl of
Oxford, the purported author of the Shakespearean canon.
character of William Shakespeare (Rafe Spall) prancing about like a
buffoonish precursor to today’s reality stars amidst the roaring
drunken theatre-going crowds, the one element missing here is the
grand glittering poetry of Shakespeare. The words matter, or at least
they should, so why bury them so deeply in the mix? The question of
authorship, while potentially valid, should have drifted into the
shadows cast by that masterful use of language. Emmerich had the
coveted grail in his grasp, which he ultimately reduced to anonymity
like just another of wondrous capital of the world. Grade: C
Opens Oct. 28. Check out theaters and show times, see the trailer and get theater details here.