Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

Entertainment Reviews

April 27, 2012

‘Anonymous’ decent fiction, though pretentious

DVD Review

Pauls Valley, Oklahoma — The art of the lie is one thing humanity has never let fall into disuse and it has many uses from trying to hide something to creating a good old fashioned conspiracy theory when we don’t want to accept the facts. This is not to allow ignorance and say truth is never a victim, but instead to acknowledge most of the time we are more full of crap than discovery.

This film is a classic example where certain individuals’ suspicions can often get ahead no matter the lack of evidence, which is why it is perfect for entertainment and little more. This is important for those of us who are in a “show me” frame of mind to go ahead and just sit back and enjoy what is actually a rather fun tale and superb example of acting. “Anonymous” can at times come across as looking down upon the lowly dogs, but is heavy in about as much uncovering of facts as Big Foot or the Loch Ness Monster.

Set during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I (Vanessa Redgrave), the story is based on the theory that Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford (Rhys Ifans) is the real author of William Shakespeare’s (Rafe Spall) plays. Not caring how many toes are stepped on, old William is pretty much portrayed as a bumbling fool who can’t even write his name properly and the Earl is a tortured genius who must hide his brilliance under someone else or be humiliated in the royal society.

That aside, the story is at times rather enjoyable, even if it does drag on and test your ability to stay awake throughout. Much of the movie follows the life of Edward from his care under William Cecil (David Thewlis) to the downfall of his estate. One of my favorite characters was actually another historical figure, Ben Johnson (Sebastian Armesto), who must carry the burden of our Earl and the secret William is too greedy to not exploit.

In the end, I would not say that I have any hatred for the film, though I can’t say I’m a fan of the implied idea a person of poor background can’t be capable of creating some of the most celebrated works of all time. If anything, I will agree that it helps kill some boredom for a couple hours and for those who love political thrillers, it certainly earns it’s place in the category.

However, I’d rather watch an adaptation of the master’s work instead of another viewing and don’t reccomend it as a must buy. Due to adult content, I’d also say it’d be best to show this one to those no younger than at least mid teenage viewers. Final verdict for “Anonymous,” two and a half out of five liars.

DVD rental courtesy of Family Video of Pauls Valley.

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