Historical drama asks if Shakespeare really wrote his great works Discuss this article

Gadzooks! Roland Emmerich, the master of multiplex mayhem, takes time out from destroying the world to concoct this delirious historical romp, which suggests that Shakespeare’s plays were not the product of a failed English actor, but sprang from the mind of a rebellious aristocrat, the Earl of Oxford (Rhys Ifans). Keen insight and rapier-like subtlety are not Emmerich’s strong suits, so instead he has chosen the path of pure excess: bodices are ripped, swords unsheathed and moustachioes waxed; every villain wears a dastardly leer and every hero a proud glint.

But Anonymous is not simply slapstick and silliness: the meaty script handles the central art-versus-politics debate in broad but convincing terms, and his placing of Shakespeare’s texts in a contemporary political context lends the fiery on-stage scenes a genuine charge. But the most pleasing aspect of Anonymous is its sheer sense of fun. Think of it as a high-end Christmas panto. Louder, faster, bigger, more!

By Tom Huddleston
Time Out Doha,


  • Duration: 130
  • Released: Thu, 24 Nov
  • Classification: PG15
  • Language: English
  • Website
  • Director: Roland Emmerich
  • Stars: Rhys Ifans, Vanessa Redgrave, David Thewlis, Sebastian Armesto, Rafe Spall, Edward Hogg, Xavier Samuel, Sam Reid, Jamie Campbell Bower, Joely Richardson

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