Review of The Duke (Film)

This film, that only recently became available on Sky Cinema, is a British comedy drama based on real life events. It was released to cinema in February 2022. It’s about a British taxi driver played by Jim Broadbent, self educated sixty year old Kempton Bunton who has recently been fired and steals a famous painting to try and further a socialist cause – that older persons shouldn’t have to pay their tv license. In that regard, it feels eerily contemporary.

It deals with the real life 1961 theft of “The Portrait of Wellington”. Generally, I love these films set in prior eras giving you a snapshot into what life was once like.

So is it any good? Well, yes and no. It’s quite slow to start but that does give you time to get to know the characters that bit better and what their different motivations are. Mr. Bunton’s daughter died a few years previously and he blames himself, trying to do good deeds to make some amends.

He is aided by his dutiful son who helps him in his exploits when he’s not chasing skirt.

The exasperated wife, who has buried her grief is played by played by Helen Mirren and she is brilliant as always. Just a pity role wasn’t a bit more challenging.

The film is quite funny at times, especially when it goes to trial. The intelligentsia meets the self taught man with his unusual answers to questions.

However, the film does have somewhat of a depressive feel to it for a comedy. Of course they have to show the why of what he did. And I don’t think it crosses the line into being a feel good film.

Therefore, I give this film three stars out of five.

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