Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Review of 'Anonymous'

A film about the real author of Shakespeare's plays - the Earl of Oxford in this version. Lovely to look at, but quite confusing in terms of narrative structure, so that by the end I was quite confused as to who was who and whether it mattered. Not helped by the fact that the fashions don't seem to change, so lots of ruffs, wispy beards and long hair - or by the fact that Queen Elizabeth appears throughout the film at different ages (I know it's flashbacks, and I don't need the screen to dissolve to tell me it's a flashback, but I still got muddled). There's a complex structure of two frame-tales as well - we start with Derek Jacobi talking to a theatrical audience in Broadway (we know it's Broadway because there is an establishing shot of him arriving), which is presumably there to tell American audiences that Shakespeare is part of their heritage; and then we see Ben Johnson arrested and tortured to reveal something or other. At the end of the film we return first to Ben Johnson and then to Jacobi - did we really need both of these?

But I did enjoy the film...lots of good acting (I especially liked the creepy, manipulative mediocrity that is Shakespeare, played by Rafe Spall)and dialogue, and great CGI to make C16-17th London, especially the Frost Fair on the Thames scene near the end.

Watched on the screen in the Middle Floor at Springhill, via the DVD player.

No comments: