The tagline says "Some secrets should stay buried" so did Steve Taylor-Bryant dig up trash or treasure when he watched Inheritance, out next week from Signature Entertainment...
Inheritance is a film that tells a story of family secrets, corruption, and manipulation all brought on by the sudden death of a father. Wealthy and powerful Archer Monroe (Patrick Warburton) dies at the wheel of his car from a suspected heart attack. At the reading of his last will and testament he leaves control of his vast estate to his loving wife, Catherine (Connie Nielsen), twenty million dollars to his Congressman son William (Chace Crawford) who is seeking re-election against the backdrop of a corruption story, but to his cleaner than clean District Attorney daughter Lauren (Lily Collins) he leaves just one million dollars and a video with a key. On the video Lauren’s father explains he was not always a good man and he had hidden something in a bunker buried in the grounds of their estate near where she had a childhood fort. Lauren finds the bunker and enters to find a man chained by the neck in a room at the end of the bunker. The prisoner explains he is Morgan Warner (Simon Pegg) and that Archer had kept him chained up and tortured due to an accident that led to the death of a man 30 years previously. As Lauren tries to get to know what kind of man her father had been, she talks with Morgan and gets snippets of information, moments of proof, and eventually decides to let him free with a false identity and her one million dollars. But that is where the story turns…
I did not go into Inheritance with high hopes if I am honest. I enjoyed director Vaughn Stein’s previous film Terminal without actually loving it, and first-time writers, like Matthew Kennedy is here, rarely knock it out of the park first time out. Add in Simon Pegg, who is not the most prolific thriller actor, and Lily Collins, who rarely gets to hold the lead role in complex thrillers, and it has all the ingredients for straight to video mediocrity but, to be fair, I enjoyed it. I enjoyed it a lot.
The film is not without issues, there are a couple of scenes which either play out like a soap opera scenario, or are maybe a bit loose narratively, and I wasn’t utterly convinced by a couple of casting choices. However, when the scenes in the bunker between Lily Collins and Simon Pegg are the focal point, the film is a different beast, delivering a taut psychological battle of wits and some top notch performances from two actors that I didn’t think had it in them. Every scene in the bunker, and the final twenty minutes especially, are very dramatic but wonderfully played leading to a compelling execution of a great premise. Collins is superb as Lauren, a woman genuinely trying to do the right thing whilst also worrying about her family and their legacy, at the same time as trying to come to terms with the loss a father she had a very complicated relationship with, a man, it turns out, she barely knew. Pegg is also an inspired piece of casting and, whilst I love the comedic stuff he is more famous for and the levity he brings to his blockbuster back catalogue, as a serious dramatic actor in Inheritance he rises to a challenge and manages to exceed all my expectations.
Inheritance is a wholly watchable thriller with some intense scenes that, with a few tweaks, could have been a masterpiece. Worth your time, though, just to see Collins and Pegg go toe to toe in roles that should elevate both of them much higher in the echelons of acting choices from now on.
Signature Entertainment presents Inheritance on Digital HD July 6th & DVD 13th July
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Images - Signature Entertainment