Elizabethan England. Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford (Rhys Ifans) is a key player in the intrigue of Elizabeth I's court, but is he also the man behind William Shakespeare's (Rafe Spall) plays?
Roland Emmerich's take on Shakespeare works as a very far-fetched ‘what if?’. It posits that Will Shakespeare (Rafe Spall) was not actually the author of the works that bear his name. They were, in fact, written by the 17th Earl Of Oxford (Rhys Ifans), who couldn’t publish them himself because writing plays was a bit common. It’s a conceit that literally goes all the way up to the president… well, the Queen. It’s completely preposterous but works within its own barking logic. But while the story works, the tone and performances are completely mismatched. Ifans suffers elegantly, but Spall is apparently in a bawdy romp and Vanessa Redgrave is looking for scenery to devour.
A curveball from the man who made 2012 and Independence Day and probably only a brief respite for the world's major cities.It's more of an interesting curio to a blockbuster career but there's fun to be had here if you look hard enough.