"You are the soul of the age... Undeniable perfection that plagued my soul>" Ben

"You are the soul of the age ... Undeniable perfection that plagued my soul." Ben


Anonymous (2011) is a masterfully told tale that like William Shakespeare enthralls with historical inaccuracy.

Directed by Roland Emmerich.

Starring Rhys Ifan, Vanessa Redgrave, Sebastian Armesto, Mark Ryland among many others.

I've got to hand it to Roland Emmerich. The man knows how to make an engaging and entertaining film. Like Shakespeare himself, he rewrites history to enthrall his audience. Rolands' re-imagining of who Shakespeare was, reminds me of Alfonso Cuaron's film, Great Expectations (1998). Alfonso reinterpreted Charles Dickens classic story for film. If you had never read or heard of William Shakespeare, John Orloff's screen play would have you walk out of Anonymous thinking that William Shakespeare was the Village Idiot.

Rhys Ifans is superb as The Earl of Oxford. Rhys usually has me laughing hysterically in his films. This time Rhys had me completely quiet and contemplative. I love when a comedic actor can change gears from comedy to drama.

Rafe Spall is superb as an evil, ruthless and illiterate Shakespeare. Rafe's eyes look like he really is relishing playing the village idiot and not the greatest playwright in history. The guy must have the darkest sense of humor in film acting. Well, I guess Shakespeare had it coming for making Richard III, so vile and dark.

Vanessa Redgrave chews not only the curtains, but the furniture and every scene partner she is in a scene with. She is having the time of her life with this role and and as an audience member I thoroughly enjoyed her over the top performance.

The scene below is with Mark Ryland, who does a jaw dropping vocal performance of Richard III. Mark has a highly trained vocal instrument that is put to spellbinding use in the film. When in Hamlet, Shakespeare writes, "Speak the speech I pray you as I pronounced it to you, trippingly on the tongue; but if you mouth it as many of your players do, I had as lief the town-crier spoke my lines. Nor do not saw the air too much with your hand thus, but use all gently; for in the very torrent, tempest, and, as I may say, whirlwind of your passion, you must acquire and beget a temperance that may give it smoothness".

Listen to the timber and resonance in Mark's voice. No dramatic vocal flurries throughout his opening monologue for Richard III. Mark hardly moves across the small stage, but watch how his audience is moved just by his voice. Mark is following Shakespeare's acting directions of speaking, "trippingly on the tongue".  
I love the way Roland cuts into other scenes during the monologue, but keeps the dialogue from the speech in his cut aways. Gives the entire monologue and scene an added depth and intrigue, which Shakespeare's monologue alludes to. 

As for who was Shakespeare? To me Shakespeare, was above all a passionate artistic human being who lived, breathed, ate, slept and fornicated acting 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. When you commit yourself to perfect only one endeavor every moment of your life you will achieve it and live forever. 

Trivia - Roland Emmerich self financed the entire $30 million budget of Anonymous.