Film Review: Anonymous
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2/5Opening in the present day, we see Derek Jacobi explaining the true story of Shakespeare. Then his monologue becomes what we see on screen and we travel hundreds of years into the past.
Then after five minutes we travel six years back from that time. Then at some points we travel back to when the Earl was a child, or a teenager. Straightaway you see the problem – five different time periods, with different plots, interwoven to tell one narrative. The jumps between periods are not clear, leaving the audience, at times, unsure was to what period they are viewing and which they are heading to for the next development.
The whole film plays out as a non-linear mess, with the plot being very difficult to follow, which is not helped by plot-twist after plot-twist each more ridiculous than the next. Anonymous tries to tell a complex engaging story, but just ends up in a puzzling mess. Despite strong performances from the main cast no one really excels and are not good enough to save this confusing debacle of a movie.
So, is the film worth a watch? Well, like Emmerich’s other works it moves along at a good pace, so if you just want to turn your brain off and enjoy the ride, you could do a lot worse. But with such interesting and controversial subject matter so much more should be expected from a movie that should be food for thought, not simple mindless entertainment. Although it is not terrible it does not succeed in any of its aims and just ends up being both unintelligent and confusing.