The Duke

The Duke

The Duke

Directed by Roger Michell

Starring Jim Broadbent, Helen Mirren, Heather Craney, Stephen Rashbrook, and James Wilby

A man needs a cause to fight for, or he has nothing. Kempton (Broadbent) fights for the poor, railing against the hated BBC “Telly Tax.” Kempton struggles to hold down a job in 1960s UK. He works hard enough, but his lecturing upsets every employer and coworker in Leeds. When he sees a 150,000 pound painting of The Duke of Wellington by Goya on TV, he decides to kidnap it until the BBC removes the hated fees. His long suffering wife Dorothy (Mirren) puts up with him, grumping the whole time but remaining loyal. It’s a sparkling comedy about social justice and familial integrity, with a bracing splash of British absurdism. It’s also literally dark. The lighting seems to mimic British fog even on sunny days. The courtroom scene drips with wit, and Kempton confesses to everything so charmingly, he gets off with a hand slap. Charming, witty, and pleasantly off-kilter, here’s a wonderful story of a real life “People’s Hero.”

This film was presented as part of the Florida Film Festival.

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