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08.11.2011 01:56 Age: 9 yrs

Funerals & Snakes Updated

Review: Anonymous, The Debt, Beautiful Lies, The Thing, Conan the Barbarian and I Don't Know How She Does It


Economically speaking, theatres are a complete waste of space. I mean, take a look at the St James or the Embassy and try and imagine how many cubicles and desks you could fit in to those huge pieces of prime real estate. Or even better, how many cars could you park inside them? (Car parks require lower ceilings therefore more floors for the same building height) What kind of fool thinks of constructing a big empty building simply to shine a light through the middle of it?

This kind of nonsense has been going on for centuries though as Anonymous, Roland Emmerich’s new piece of speculative fiction, demonstrates. Stretching credulity almost as far as Star Trek requiring us to believe in faster-than-light speed, Anonymous asks its audience to assume that barely-literate actor Will Shakespeare (Rafe Spall) was not the author of all those plays and sonnets but instead they were penned by Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford (Rhys Ifans) and used as a tool to rile the populace and provoke political unrest.

 

Setting aside the more insulting aspects of that assumption (that only an educated and well-bred man could possibly have written such glorious allusive poetry) I quite admired the film’s premise that art generally — and theatre specifically — can actually change minds, lives and the fates of nations. As an old school luvvie from way back, I like the sound of that and I liked Anonymous so help me. It’s a delicious, moustache-twirling, romp and not a history lesson, despite Sony Pictures’ egregious attempts to make it so.

 


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