REVIEW: Anonymous

28 04 2013

I know I’m always calling for directors to expand their horizons and try different kinds of movies to see if any surprising realizations result.  So I really hope this doesn’t come off as hypocritical, but Roland Emmerich should really just stick to apocalyptic disaster movies like “Independence Day” and “2012.”

I applaud the director for trying a conspiracy theory flick that actually plays like – gasp – drama, something that would appear to be totally out of his wheelhouse.  It’s far bolder a choice than, say, Michael Bay, whose “Pain and Gain” literally just appears to be a micro version of “Transformers” without those pesky anthropomorphic robots.  But now that we’ve found out that Emmerich is not capable of meeting the demands of something this serious, he should just go back to blowing up culturally iconic landmarks with his regular gusto.

Anonymous,” an exploration of the not-so-hotly debated question of Shakespeare’s authorship of his famous plays is pretty much a failure from the get-go.  I couldn’t keep up with any of the characters, which is a problem in a movie with many of them.  The relationships were fuzzy, and on top of that, alliances and allegiances were never clear.  For a movie on a human scale, these are basic necessities that need to be established.

Sometimes I zone out when watching movies but can pick up enough context to still follow the basic plot and direction of the film.  Such was not the case with “Anonymous,” surprising in a cast that included Rhys Ifans, Joely Richardson, David Thewlis, and Oscar-winner Vanessa Redgrave.

I just thought it was a big, fat messy ink blot of a movie.  However, I bear no animosity for Roland Emmerich attempting to do something out of the ordinary.  There are many things “Anonymous” is not, although perhaps the only positive thing on that list is that the movie bears little to no resemblance to “2012.”  C-1halfstars



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