Edward De Vere (Rhys Ifans) is the Earl of Oxford and as such it is very much frowned upon that he writes plays, even though the aging Queen Elizabeth (Vanessa Redgrave) loves (his) plays very much. But Edward has the idea of letting the rather unknown writer Ben Jonson (Sebastian Armesto) take credit for his plays. But instead the obnoxious actor William Shakespeare (Rafe Spall) puts his name to it – and that is only where the trouble starts for Edward.
Holy crap, this movie was bad. I mean, I expected it to be bad, but I also expected it to be entertaining with it. But when I wasn’t headdesking, I was bored. Not what I think of as a good time. It does have its moments, but they are few and far between.
The movie makes no sense whatsoever. I mean, the whole theory makes no sense whatsoever, but I was expecting that. Anyone who has ever heard of Occam’s razor knows this. But I did think that at least the film would have a logic in itself. But they didn’t even achieve that.
But even that would have been forgiveable. But crackpot theories have one major duty, and one only – that is to entertain. And for the most part, they failed here.
That is not to say that there was nothing good about the film. Rhys Ifans was excellent, though not quite as good as Rafe Spall. Seriously, he is the embodiment of a buffoon – and buffoon is not a word I usually use. I have to admit that his Shakespeare is almost worth the entire film.
Vanessa Redgrave was a bit disappointing though. Though that might also be due to the way her Elizabeth was written. Which might have been a little more realistic than the rest of the film (since there is evidence that she went a bit loopy towards the end), but I do prefer the feisty Judi Dench version. It is just more entertaining.
Summarising: Roland Emmerich should stick to letting the world end. He’s good with that.