8/10 The true story of Kempton Bunton, who in the early 1960s, allegedly stole Goya’s portrait of the Duke of Wellington and his ensuing trial. The fact that not only is this a fascinating true story, but has some terrific performances, excellent pacing and an unexpected plot twist makes this one of the most pleasant surprises of 2022 so far. The story was one I was unfamiliar with and writers Richard Bean and Clive Coleman along with director Roger Michell do an excellent job of educating the audience (without clunky exposition) while keeping the film entertaining and heartfelt. Bunton was a very outspoken man who railed against the UK’s ridiculous laws and requirements such as the law that says you legally need a television license to watch or record programs broadcast from anywhere in the world. This idiotic rule is still the law of the land in the UK, although there has been a minor alteration to it, which the film goes into detail about with some onscreen text at the end. Jim Broadbent is fantastic as Bunton and Helen Mirren brings a lot of heart as his wife Dorothy. Fionn Whitehead plays their son Jackie and I enjoyed that each character gets proper development time, despite the tight running time of an hour and a half. Due to most of the main cast being older, I realize that this film will largely appeal to an older demographic. Indeed, when I saw this in theaters, I was the youngest individual in the theater by probably 35 years or so. However, this is a film that should appeal to everyone, regardless of age. The fact that the film has a big heart and truly lets you understand Bunton’s motivations, while also naturally explaining some of the tragic moments he and his wife went through is a rarity these days and Michell makes it all look so easy. The score from George Fenton is catchy and era appropriate while the production design and costume design expertly recreate the early 1960s in the UK. While the law is certainly not used fairly amongst all citizens today and justice is no longer blind (if it ever was), this is a rare example of when an appeal from an old man looking to help out his community through charitable means actually had a happy ending. While you may not have seen this film or even heard of it, I recommend it for anyone over the age of 13, seeing as how it is only rated R for some language.

#BroadBentNetwork / #DukeIAmYourBother / #BroadBentOutOfShape / #MatthewAGoodeLawyer / #FraughtFuzz / #StateOfPlays

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s