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The Duke Blu-ray Review

Jim Broadbent makes “The Duke” worth watching.

Based on a true story, the 1961 set “The Duke” tells the story of the Bunton family comprised of the wannabe playwright father (Kempton) who tends to get in trouble all while fighting for senior citizens to have free television, his housekeeper/babysitter wife (Dorothy), and their 2 sons Jackie and Kenny. Kempton and Dorothy had a daughter (Marion) who was tragically killed in an accident and they are still struggling with her loss. The family situation becomes just a tad bit complicated when Kempton allegedly steals the Duke of Wellington portrait from the National Gallery. Jackie is fully aware of the theft and the fact that Kempton is holding it ransom to help pay off television licenses for the elderly. Dorothy, however, is fully in the dark. What will happen to Kempton? Did he even steal it? Will the painting be returned? All is revealed in the end.

“The Duke” is a British drama-comedy that marks the final film from director Roger Michell (best known for “Notting Hill” and “Changing Lanes”) and it’s a memorable one to end a career on. While the painting theft may be the central plot of Richard Bean and Clive Coleman’s script, “The Duke” is also very much a family drama and an activist biodrama. It’s the type of quaint little adult British film that tends to get noticed across the globe. It’s straight forward, charming, emotional, non-challenging entertainment and that’s perfectly OK. In these turbulent times, sometimes a human interest story like this is needed.

As you no doubt glommed from the headline, Jim Broadbent (who plays Kempton) is the MVP here. Ever since the 1980’s, Broadbent has been a consistent actor with a diverse filmography. He can appear in genre fare like the Harry Potter films, he can dazzle you in the musical “Moulin Rouge,” and he can wow you in dramas like his Academy Award winning turn in “Iris.” Sure, he’s aided by a stellar supporting cast featuring the equally reliable Helen Mirren, Matthew Goode (who is absolutely crushing it lately), and Fionn Whitehead, but it’s Broadbent’s heartfelt performance that drives the movie and elevates it as a whole.


Presentation: 2.39:1 1080p. Grade: A-

Audio Track: 5.1 DTS-HD MA. Grade: A-

Extras include “The Duke” trailer and trailers for other Sony titles and a making of featurette. 


July 18, 2022 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , , ,

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