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:: Anonymous

It’s not long into Anonymous that you realise that it has awards written all over it. Being a period piece always helps but the fact that the story and acting seems faultless almost makes it a done deal. In some ways this goes to being close to the perfect film, the filmmakers have been careful to make every little detail perfect and the story has you guessing what will happen throughout.

For the past one hundred years people have been throwing around theories about who the real William Shakespeare was. In Anonymous we see William Shakespeare (Rafe Spall) take the credit for the plays actually written by Edward, The Earl Of Oxford (Rhys Ifans) when Edward is actually trying to give the credit to promising writer, Ben Jonson (Sebastian Armesto). The plays almost become a weapon in the Essex Rebellion as Edward, The Earl Of Southampton (Xavier Samuel) and The Earl Of Essex (Sam Reid) try to put stop to a plan by William (David Thewlis) and Robert Cecil (Edward Hogg) that will see Queen Elizabeth 1 (Vanessa Redgrave) give over her thrown to a Scotchman instead of one of her ‘bastard’ children. The film also looks at the illicit relationship between a Young Queen Elizabeth 1 (Joely Richardson) and Young Edward (Jamie Campbell Bower).

Director, Roland Emmerich and screenwriter, John Orloff, make a brilliant team. Emmerich has re-created Elizabethan England remarkable well (the detail is faultless) while Orloff’s script goes into every detail of the saga at hand. And while the script is informative and interesting as the story unfolds it can also be confusing if someone loses concentration on the film for even a second. There seems to be a flurry of characters and because there are two stories, set forty years apart, being told simultaneously at times it can be confusion. Still, if you keep your wits around you and concentrate really hard on what is happening you’ll be fine, and you’ll actually find yourself being stunned at the brilliance of the film.

It is hard not to see Anonymous picking up at least a couple of Oscar nominations for its acting performances. Vanessa Redgrave and Rhys Ifans put in spectacular performances while Joely Richardson shouldn’t be pushed aside either. With Redgrave’s brilliant acting it’s easy to forget that Richardson plays the younger version of the Queen… and she does it remarkable well. The film also gives some younger actors a chance to shine and Sam Reid, Xavier Samuel and Sebastian Armesto certainly don’t disappoint.

If you love conspiracy theories than you certainly shouldn’t miss Anonymous. This is the kind of theory you’ll be telling your friends about for a long time to come. With brilliant acting and an engrossing storyline this is a film that is going to create a lot of Oscar buzz.