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Discussion Starter · #1 ·

The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )



Audio/Video total rating:

( Max score: 100 )


Studio and Year:Columbia Pictures - 2011
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Feature running time: 130 minutes
Genre: Drama

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.35:1
Resolution: 1080p/24

Audio Format(s): English, French (PAR) DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1, English Audio Description Track
Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Spanish
Starring: Sebastian Armesto, Jamie Campbell Bower, Edward Hogg, Rhys Ifans, Derek Jacobi, Vanessa Redgrave, Joely Richardson, Xavier Samuel, Rafe Spall, David Thewlis
Directed by: Roland Emmerich
Music by: Harald Kloser & Thomas Wanker (as Thomas Wander)
Written by: John Orloff
Region Code: Free

Blu-ray Disc release Date: February 7, 2012

"The Truth Is The Greatest Tragedy Of All"

Film Synopsis:

A political thriller advancing the theory that it was in fact Edward De Vere, Earl of Oxford who penned Shakespeare's plays; set against the backdrop of the succession of Queen Elizabeth I, and the Essex Rebellion against her.

My Take:

Set in Elizabethan England, Anonymous is really two stories. One, the central drama of who will be the successor to Elizabeth's throne and the high stakes game played for it. The other, of course, is what that story is based around, which is the idea that William Shakespeare was not the author of his plays, but merely an actor who happens upon an offer to put his name to the manuscripts of a "secret" Earl. This is a theory that has been kicking around for some time since there are no original manuscripts and a few other bits circumstantial evidence. The believers in this are called "anti-straffordians". It is an interesting subject to base this fictional story around, and the bits of non-fiction weaved in made the movie all the more interesting.

I quite enjoyed this film, and was impressed with Director Roland Emmerich's style here. This is without a doubt a "Costume Drama", which I usually loathe and am forced to watch by my wife. This certainly is a bit different than Emmerich's usual fair, humongous budgeted disaster films like 2012 and The Day After Tomorrow. He shows here he can be more than an action director, really creating an authentic mood. The only issue I had was a few moments where I had to sort out the players and what was really going on. I feel the film was a bit heavy handed and could have used a trim on running time and bit of editing for brevity's sake.

Rhys Ifans (Notting Hill, Elizabeth: The Golden Age) stole the show as the Earl of Oxford. He proves his chops here in what I consider an Oscar caliber performance. Vanessa Redgrave was great as Queen Elizabeth, and play-writes Ben Jonson (Sebastian Armesto) and William Shakespeare (Rafe Spall) were spot on with their mix of humor and tension. If you can forgive many liberties as far as historical accuracies go and want to see a quality film with great acting and an unusually, yet intriguing story, I recommended Anonymous, flaws and all.

Parental Guide:

The rating is for some violence and sexual content .

AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**

(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

Audio: 92

  • Dynamics:

  • Low frequency extension:

  • Surround Sound presentation:

  • Clarity/Detail:

  • Dialogue Reproduction:

Video: 90

(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Resolution/Clarity:

  • Black level/Shadow detail:

  • Color reproduction:

  • Fleshtones:

  • Compression:

Anonymous comes to Blu-ray Disc from Sony featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 24.5 Mbps lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate 2.1 Mbps.

Sony delivers yet another superlative high definition presentation with i>Anonymous. Fine details are apparent even on the smallest of fabric or structure. Colors, though on the drab side, suite the film well and were the intended look. Fleshtones were natural, falling on the paler side, again, fitting with the films color palette. Black levels are the only minor issue, and at times they wander a little on the gray side of things. The Image depth, especially during the films opening in NYC is spectacular, and this depth is noticeable throughout the movie. Shot in HD there is no film grain to speak of and I noticed no digital anomalies. Very nice indeed.

The is a strong DTS-HD Master Audio presentation that captures the films scenes with authority. Dynamics are strong and dialogue is crystal clear. LFE is room shaking when cannons blast, and the surround sound mix goes from subtle to stand-out impressive. I found myself listening loud, and this audio presentation sucked me into the film more than I ought to have been. This is impressive track indeed.

Bonus Features:

  • Commentary with Director Roland Emmerich and Writer John Orloff

  • (HD) Deleted Scenes

  • (HD) Extended Scenes

  • (HD) Who Is The Real William Shakespeare?

  • (HD) Speak The Speech…

  • (HD) Anonymous PS3 Wallpaper/Theme

  • (HD) Theatrical trailer

  • (HD) Trailers: The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, Carnage, A Dangerous Method, The Ides of march,

  • BD-Live enabled

Final Thoughts:

Anonymous certainly wont be everyones cup of tea, but to anyone interested I believe it is worth a viewing. Sony knocks it out with this HD presentation as both audio and video are superb, and watching the directors commentary proved to be one of the better and more informative I have heard. Be warned, the film does get a bit convoluted with who the players are and their motivations, but clears up as quick as the confusion sets in. I recommended Anonymous, flaws and all.

Lee Weber
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

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2,469 Posts
Amazon emailed me recently that our pre-order had shipped.

Based on your review, it may be better than I had expected.

1,857 Posts
Great review!

Honestly, I thought it was Ralph's review until I saw your picture at the bottom.

Please don't take that as an insult, as Ralph is my favorite movie reviewer by far.


1,190 Posts
Great write up Lee!

Will have to pick this one up since it's reference stuff plus the fact that it was Set in Elizabethan England times.

Mod & Bluray Reviewer
2,609 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·

Originally Posted by adpayne /forum/post/21621540

Great review!

Honestly, I thought it was Ralph's review until I saw your picture at the bottom.

Please don't take that as an insult, as Ralph is my favorite movie reviewer by far.


Considering the subject, are you sure Ralph didn't really write it?

Thanks guys!
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