Bill: The Untold Story Of Shakespeare, When He Became A Spy

Bill is a historical comedy film directed by Richard Bracewell. The plot revolves around the early days of William Shakespeare (Matthew Baynton), as he tries to make it as a playwright. There is also a plot to assassinate Queen Elizabeth 1st (Helen McCrory), that Shakespeare gets wrapped up in and has to prevent.

The comedy here is a little more adult, than I would expect from the PG certificate. Right from the off I was surprised about the number of sex jokes in there, I don’t remember them being in Horrible Histories, that said I am not complaining about this fact I actually found it rather amusing and the film made me laugh several times.

The Horrible Histories trope are all put well to use here. Though I would say Martha Howe-Douglas was relegated to nothing more than the supporting wife role and I would have liked to see her have a larger and more important part, or really be able to take part in the fun assassination plotline.

Furthermore, though the film is fun, and a lot of that fun does originate from the narrative, it is definitely overstuffed. The film tries to do too many things, it tries to be a Shakespeare origin story of sorts, it tries to tell this international spy game intrigue plot line, and a few other odd twists and turns as well. Now I can’t fault there ambition with making the film so densely packed, but I can fault there execution as none of the elements came together in the way they should, and part of the film even felt a bit boring.

Pros.

It’s funny

It’s fun

The cast are great

Cons.

Howe-Douglas deserved more to do

There was far too much going in a narrative sense

3/5

Reviewed by Luke  

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