Film: The Duke (2022)

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We headed for the local Odeon today with David & Valerie to see the much-praised recently released movie: The Duke starring Jim Broadbent and Helen Mirren.

It was another opportunity for us to try out the Meerkat two-for-one ticket-ticket-deal – but given the great reviews, we would have probably paid full-price anyway! ?

Odeon, Kettering

What no seats!!!!

Surprisingly, we weren’t able to bag premiere seats as Screen 5 was almost full! What!!!! On a Tuesday afternoon in March, who are all these people? ?

The answer, of course, was simple: People like us! Pensioners (and us two almost-pensioners) making their money go a little further. Who knew Meerkats were so popular? Screen 5 was indeed packed and we were forced to book seats about four rows from the front (usually a bit close for us two).

What’s the Plot?

In 1961, a recently retired taxi-driver, Kempton Bunton, instead of attending half-price meerkat movies, nicks one of Goya’s portraits of the Duke of Wellington from London’s National Gallery. He says he’ll return the work of art if the State looks at the cost of TV Licences for oldies. It’s based on a true story!

Boris, are you watching and listening? ?

Both Jim Broadbent and Helen Mirren were perfectly cast as an ordinary working-class couple from Newcastle. Jim Broadbent’s character Kempton Bunton takes on ‘the System’ and regularly comes unstuck. It’s a light comedy, but there’s some personal tragedy that underpins the narrative.

What was it like?

If you prefer your films to be more West London than West Coast, more Ealing than Hollywood, then this will be a delight! Directed by Roger Michell (Notting Hill anyone?) with a story by playright, Richard Bean and Barrister, turned Journo Clive Coleman.

It was a real joy from beginning to the end, with a (very) witty script and where it was good to see a production that didn’t rely on noisy special effects to create the wow factor. The ninety-six minute running-time also reminded me of films from a bygone era! The cinematography authentically brought the life and times of the 60s, both in Newcastle and London, with a clever mix of historic colour newsreel and some very authentic looking sets. The soundtrack featured music from the period too! Brilliant! ??

The Players

Jim Broadbent as Kempton Bunton
Helen Mirren as Dorothy Bunton
Fionn Whitehead as Jackie Bunton
Matthew Goode as Jeremy Hutchinson
Anna Maxwell Martin as Mrs. Gowling
Jack Bandeira as Kenny Bunton
Aimée Kelly as Irene
Joshua McGuire as Eric Crowther, Hutchinson’s junior
Charlotte Spencer as Pammy
John Heffernan as Neddie Cussen, prosecuting barrister[
Andrew Havill as Sir Philip Hendy, Director of the National Gallery
James Wilby as Carl Aarvold, judge in Kempton’s case
Heather Craney as Debbie, clerk of the court in Kempton’s case
Richard McCabe as Rab Butler, Home Secretary
Charles Edwards as Joseph Simpson, Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police
Sian Clifford as Dr. Unsworth, handwriting expert

In these days of mostly mega-blockbusters, stuffed full of CGI, it made a very pleasant change to see a movie ‘powered’ by just the acting, and we left with a nice warm glow inside. I defy anyone not to feel the same! Easily, the most satisfying film of the year so far!

Go see!??

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