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My Kingdom

Starring: Richard Harris, Lynn Redgrave, Emma Catherwood, Lorraine Pilkington and Louise Lombard
Directed by: Don Boyd
Rated: R

 

My Kingdom starts out wonderfully...but sadly it's a tad too far fetched towards the end to make it a thoroughly enjoyable yarn. It is Richard Harris' last film and he is, as always, great. It's no secret the man-oozed talent freely from his wild man's pores.

Here Richard plays Sandeman, a mob boss that built his way up from the Liverpool docks. His whole family is aware of his business. In fact two of three of the kids want to run the thing. The third, Jo (Emma Catherwood) is Ms. Holier-than-thou and has a hard time understanding the ways of her kin. Ho-hum.

This family is so corrupt they even have the grandson "The Boy" (Reece Noi), who's all of ten, running "errands." The weird part is the first half of the film the family seems pretty normal. Dysfunctional, but normal. Then following the murder of the beloved wife and mother Mandy (Lynn Redgrave) things start to crumble - fast. The family accountant advises all her assets (which are all the assets) need to be transferred into one of the daughters' names. This way the police and government can't get at. When the good daughter, Jo, refuses to take possession of the dirty- earned assets the other two sisters Tracy (Lorraine Pilkington) and Kath (Louise Lombard), evil and eviler, are all-too- happy to grab the mighty empire's reigns.

They immediately stir things up; violently. First? Out goes dear old daddy without so much as a "stay well and be sure to call dear!" Followed by the age-old game of have some - want more!

See a familiar theme? Yes, the film is basically King Lear done in modern day Liverpool - there's even tidbits of twisted Shakespearean dialog for those who listen carefully.

But they didn't adjust the now implausible aspects of King Lear. The film lost me and the sad twists of unrealistic mumbo jumbo crescendo-ing into pure mayhem ruined what could have been a thespian delight.

The evil sisters Louise Lombard and Lorraine Pilkington were great as the bickering nemesis'. Emma Catherwood, who played Jo fell flat too many times - poor kid. I can't truly judge the actor from this one role - be fair. It could be the director or the script…but as Jo she gave a feeling of dread that welled when she took the screen. The whole thing screeched to a stand still for those moments.

Lynn Redgrave is in this far too little. It's a complete treat to see her "being." I understand she took the role because of its location shooting in Liverpool. The place her esteemed parents met! How cute is that?

Over all the cast does a great job of it even when, as mentioned, when the story goes mad. Too bad the filmmakers strayed into Unbelievable Land and didn't stay a bit more within the lines of reality. The film would have been brilliant. As it stands it's a nice look at a twisted tale of greed and family ethics gone astray. Harris fans must see this, obviously. But for those who want a Shakespeare fix done by today's film makers? Rent Scotland PA.

Snack recommendation: Mushy peas and ale

 

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