October 21, 2014
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Anonymous
Don Fowler
2 stars
Reviewer's Rating:

(Muddled mess of a movie)

After enjoying a superb production of Shakespeare's "Hamlet," I had to sit through two hours and 10 minutes of one of the most confusing movies I've ever seen.

The premise is simple: Shakespeare didn't write Hamlet, or any of the plays attributed to him. The problem is that this movie is one big muddled mess. The only salvation is Vanessa Redgrave's portrayal of Queen Elizabeth.

The theory is that the Earl of Oxford wrote the plays for political reasons. He wanted playwright Ben Johnson to put his name on the plays, but Johnson resisted.

William Shakespeare, who is portrayed as a terrible actor and a drunk, seizes the opportunity for fame and fortune and quickly becomes the darling of the English theatre.

That is all well and good, except that the author jerks us around in time and space to the point that we don't know who is who, what is what, where and when we are....and why.

History is distorted, characters all look alike, and much of the movie is played in shadows. Shakespeare buff's will be confused and everyone else will be overwhelmed...or underwhelmed.

Rated PG-13, with some violence. If the movie does anything, it will turn off the younger folks to Shakespeare.


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