“The Duke”, the incredible true story of a modern Robin Hood

The Duke ***

by Roger Michelle

British movie, 1:25

To each his own battle horses. In 1961 Kempton Bunton happily rides the of him: the end of the television license for the old that marketing had not yet taken on the task of renaming the elderly. Modest taxi driver, this 60-year-old does not hesitate to expose his beliefs to the state controllers who go to his small home in Newcastle: the small screen takes the elderly out of their isolation and opens the doors to the wide world.

It is therefore in the public interest to give free access to television to the less fortunate. As such, it refuses to pay a single shilling to watch the BBC. Despite the support of the local press, these positions earned him a passage in prison.

Canvas stolen by big offenders

Kempton Bunton, not being the thrifty type of man in matters of indignation, is scandalized by another matter. The British government has just bought Goya’s portrait of the Duke of Wellington from an American collector who was about to take him to his country for the modest sum of £ 140,000.

Exhibited at the National Gallery in London, it is the pride of Her Royal Majesty’s subjects. Not from Kempton Bunton, shocked that so much money would go to this acquisition rather than his cause. Shortly after our hero’s visit to London to demonstrate in front of Parliament against copyright and to try to publicize the text of his new play, the police announce that the canvas was stolen from the National Gallery, probably by an organization international. flying cheaters.

A modern-day Robin Hood

After the attempt Blackbird On the occasion of the farewell to his entire family of a woman suffering from an incurable disease during a last weekend together, director Roger Michell, who himself passed away in September 2021, took a joyful turn by adapting the true story of Kempton Bunton to cinema. . It was his nephew who presented the idea to a producer to dedicate a film to him. It is clear that his story offers excellent material for a comedy.

Personality as eccentric as she is generous, Kempton Bunton wanted to be a modern Robin Hood. At the age of 57 he had to answer before the courts of his country for the theft of the portrait of the Duke of Wellington, which he considered to be of poor quality, forced by his wife to report, after wearing his teeth all the police of Great Britain. Jim Broadbent embodies with tender malice and a fantasy bordering on sweet madness this tireless corrector of wrongs to whom the tasty dialogues give all his verve, from the cramped family home in Newcastle to the London courts to answer (or not) for the actions of he.

Jim Broadbent and Helen Mirren are a couple with a difficult relationship

The Duke he also delicately probes the intimacy of Kempton Bunton. He forms with Dorothy (the flawless Helen Mirren) a couple as decoupled as they are complementary: dreams and storms; she keeps her feet on the ground and boils the pot. Unsinkable love and immense pain bind them together. They lost their eldest daughter, Marian, in an accident. Dorothy has closed in silence, Kempton returns to this drama in comedies that never find buyers. They have an affectionately tough relationship with their two children, including Jackie (Fionn Whitehead), the kindest, most discreet young man who still lives under their roof.

Incidentally, the film captures the living conditions of a working class for whom the postwar boom period offered only relative comfort: retired bus driver Kempton multiplies his jobs to supplement his meager retirement; Dorothy, a housekeeper of an upper-class family, fears that her husband’s escapades will cause her to lose her job. Roger Michell’s scenery and direction that wonderfully serves up an amazing true story until they make it an unexpected twist The Duke a comic social comedy so British how we like them.


A posthumous release

Born on 5 June 1956 in PretoriaBritish director Roger Michell died on 22 September 2021 at the age of 65.

Cambridge graduateRoger Michell started in theater and television before moving to film in 1996 by adapting his own show My night with Reg.

In 1999gets a huge hit with his romantic comedy Love at first sight in Notting Hilllove story between a Hollywood star, Julia Roberts, and a London bookseller, Hugh Grant.

2002. Uncontrolled skidding.

2003.The mother.

2010.Morning glory.

2012.Real weekend.

2017.My cousin Rachel.

2020.The Duke.

2021. Elisabetta, singular looksa documentary on the Queen of England will be screened in cinemas on 2 June for the start of her jubilee celebrations.

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