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film review: anonymous

Anonymous is a political thriller advancing the theory that it was in fact Edward De Vere, the Earl of Oxford who penned Shakespeare’s plays while Shakespeare took all the fame. It is set against the backdrop of the succession of Queen Elizabeth The First and the rebellion that was led against her.

To begin with, the film has an interesting concept and offers a different take on not only William Shakespeare and the times he lived in, but also the life of Queen Elizabeth I, her lovers, and the Essex rebellion against her. The Queen has strings of lovers and often must reside in the country to birth her many illegitimate children.

Credible actor Rhys Ifans (The Boat That Rocked, Notting Hill) plays the aforementioned Earl of Oxford, and there are many other notable actors such as Sebastian Armesto (Marie Antoinette, Pirates Of The Caribbean) who plays Benjamin Jonson, Xavier Samuel (Eclipse, The Loved Ones) who plays the Earl of Southampton and Rafe Spall (Hot Fuzz, Shaun Of The Dead) who plays William Shakespeare himself.

The film starts off rather differently than one would imagine, which gives the movie a refreshingly different pace and keeps the viewer interested. The plot leaves you guessing and wondering when and what the next twist will be, and the ending will surprise many. There is a fair mix of humour, leaving the audience chuckling, but not too much to deter from the film and the storyline. It catches the attention better than other films based in this era, although for younger people, it would not be as entertaining due to the context.

Roland Emmerich’s use of the large-scale sets and photorealistic graphics to recreate Victorian London is successful and provides a high amount of entertainment for the viewers. The intense backgrounds add to the rich texture of the movie.

All in all, Anonymous is a good film with a credible plot, script and range of actors, which entertains while also communicating a strangely believable theory that Shakespeare was a fraud.

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