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November 2011

The Most Unkindest Cut of All

Anonymous (2011)

Reiner Bajo/Columbia Pictures

Roland Emmerich has never been one to let history get in the way of a good story. His 2000 film, “The Patriot,” took untold liberties with the facts of the American Revolution, idolizing Mel Gibson’s Benjamin Martin while utterly damning the actions of the British. It should come as no real surprise, then, that Mr. Emmerich luxuriates in creating a wildly and wholly inaccurate world of Elizabethan-era London for his latest picture, “Anonymous.”

Utilizing a discredited niche conspiracy theory that William Shakespeare (Rafe Spall) was a bumbling fraud and a mere front for the refined Earl of Oxford (a brooding and camp Rhys Ifans) as the basis for this alternative history, Mr. Emmerich and scribe John Orloff make the critical mistake of promoting this faction as in any way credible.

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