Screenplay by Richard
Bean, Clive Coleman
Directed by Roger
Coming to Canberra cinemas 31 March 2022
Previewed by Len
Power 24 February 2022
In 1961, a 60 year old Newcastle, England taxi driver,
Kempton Bunton, stole Goya’s portrait of the Duke Of Wellington from the
National Gallery in London. It was the
first (and remains the only) theft in the Gallery’s history. Why Bunton stole the painting and what
happened afterwards forms the basis of a fine movie which is funny, surprising
The film shows an impressive attention to period detail in its depiction of a run-down, poverty-stricken area of Newcastle. Jim Broadbent gives a very fine performance as Kempton Bunton, a man who spends much of his time writing plays that never get produced. Unable to keep a job for any length of time, he is slowly driving his wife, played by Helen Mirren, up the wall.
|Helen Mirren and Jim Broadbent pose with 'The Duke'
Mirren is almost unrecognizable as the downtrodden, hard-working and exasperated wife. Her performance is superb and both she and Broadbent give an extraordinary realism in their playing of the years of frustration in this relationship.
There are some changes to the story for dramatic effect and the ending, in which Bunton is seen as a bit of a national hero, seems contrived but it is a very enjoyable film about a fascinating crime.
The film also explains a tongue-in-cheek reference to the Goya painting in the James Bond movie, ‘Dr. No’ which was not clear before.
Len Power's reviews are also broadcast on Artsound FM 92.7 in the ‘Arts Cafe’ and ‘Arts About’ programs and published in his blog 'Just Power Writing' at https://justpowerwriting.blogspot.com/.