Just came from the theater after watching the new movie ‘Anonymous’. For those of you who don’t know what this movie is about, here is a gist. William Shakespeare, who is considered to be the author of one the most exemplary literary collection of all times, is not the real author of all the said literary work. Instead, it was the labor of a British royalty whose name was removed from all his plays and poems, due to political and personal vendettas of his time. Shakespeare was simply character in the high stakes game of betrayal who was fortunate enough to be credited to some of the greatest plays and poems that has ever been put into words.
To be honest, a good part of the movie escaped my comprehension and I have good number of reasons for it. These are just guesses so far, but they seem to make the most sense to me. You be the judge. Number one, I think the British accent bungled the conversation in many places. Sure, the accent is native to the of times of Queen Elizabeth, which is when the story is placed, but, in many places in the movie, as a non-British-accent native I had no fucking idea what they were saying. Why do they have to enunciate those vowels so much? The Elizabethan era costumes are bewildering as it is.
Secondly, beards. Grooming in general. They all look like. Everyone has long hair, mustache and beard and all three are pointy. The Hair long and mostly shiny are held back with something that must be expensive because all royalty has it, even the women, but none of the commoners do. Everyone has the same mustache – thick, curved and pointing upwards like the one sported by Aamir Khan in Mangal Pandey. Everyone has beards as well, just as similar to everybody else. If the viewer spends half the time in figuring out who is who, then how can one pay attention to the spoken words.
Third reason, history. I’ll admit it, it’s not my favorite subject. I assume it’s not the favorite for most people. I never liked its insistence on accuracy, especially regarding dates and times. There is no reason to be that exacting. Someone fought someone else and, eventually, one of those parties won and ruled something until someone else came along to fight them; I get the gist.
Like I said, these are the reasons I have come up with, so far, for not understanding some parts of the movie ‘Anonymous’. That said, it was a pretty good movie. Cinematography was excellent and the dialogs, when they were comprehensible to me, were crisp. The best moments of the movie were the enacting of Edward De Vere’s – who is the real Shakespeare by the way – plays in front of the British commoner audience. You get to see the way words transform people. Edward’s words turn the audience into puppets available for manipulation. He makes them laugh and cry, elate and sadden, even love and hate. He has complete faith that his words can spark raw emotions from whoever is subject to them, and he uses them to try to bring down the prevailing status quo; he almost drastically alters it. Almost.
For anyone who has the love for words, Shakespeare’s works (whoever the author was) represent the best of that world. Being a sub-par amateur blogger, for me, it was hard to miss the grander point about literature from the movie. Art exists to affect people. If art does not cause change, physically or emotionally, there is no reason for it to exist. An artist has to cause change. There is no such thing as an artist without a message. As Edward strikingly declares
‘All artists have something to say. Otherwise, you would be a cobbler.’
That felt like getting whacked with a club.
By the way, if your name is Kamal, don’t bother to watch this movie. You won’t understand a single word of it. For the rest of the world, take your chances.
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