When it comes to historical literary debates, I tend to stay out of it until the director of "Independence Day" and "The Day After Tomorrow" weighs in.

When it comes to historical literary debates, I tend to stay out of it until the director of “Independence Day” and “The Day After Tomorrow” weighs in.

So, yeah, Roland Emmerich may not be the first name you think of for a film advancing the theory that William Shakespeare didn’t write the great works attributed to him.

“Anonymous” plops itself down on the Oxfordian theory, positing that Edward De Vere, Earl of Oxford (Rhys Ifans) was the true author. The supposed cover-up is revealed in a backdrop of political maneuvering in Elizabethan England.

The tale presented here is dizzying, spanning decades and playing delightfully loose with the facts. Good for the movie, not so good for the debate.

I’m a movie critic, not an English lit major, so I won’t wade into the debate of what’s being presented here. The more serious-minded will probably scoff at the plot twists that are presented. They’re downright Shakespearean!

Speaking of Shakespeare, ol’ Will himself is portrayed as a drunk buffoon of an actor who seizes advantage of the situation. Actor Rafe Spall owes a fair bit of his performance to Johnny Depp’s Jack Sparrow.

Emmerich embraces the conspiracy whole-heartedly, and the film has great moments as a political thriller. But it gets bogged down, and you realize maybe someone with more of an eye for storytelling should have been at the helm.