Critics were definitely bowing down to British comedy The Duke when it had its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival.
Jim Broadbent is Geordie taxi driver Kempton Bunton, who steals a Goya painting of the Duke Of Wellington (the Duke of the title) then holds it to ransom to raise money for care for the elderly. And if that sounds weird, it is — of course — a true story. Helen Mirren plays his wife Dorothy. And as someone born and bred in Newcastle, their Geordie accents are pretty convincing…
Here’s the synopsis:
THE DUKE is a moving true story that celebrates a man who was determined to live a meaningful life. Set in 1961, it follows the story of Kempton Bunton, a 60-year old taxi driver, who 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. Kempton proceeded to send ransom notes declaring that he would only return the painting on the condition that the government invest more in care for the elderly, specifically bringing attention to his long running campaign for pensioners to receive free television.
What happened next is the stuff of legends… only 50 years later did the full story emerge and it was revealed that Kempton had spun a web of lies. The only truth was that he was a good man, determined to change the world and save his marriage — how and why he used the Duke to achieve this, is a wonderfully uplifting tale that will be seen on film for the first time.
Watch the trailer now:
The Duke is directed by Bafta winner Roger Michell (Notting Hill) from a screenplay by Richard Bean and Clive Coleman. CO-starring are Fionn Whiehead, Matthew Goode, Anna Maxwell Martin and Sian Clifford.