While quite possibly one of the most unlikely stories, The Duke brings a real-life true crime story to the big screen. The movie follows Kempton Bunton, a taxi driver stealing a painting from the National Gallery in London. The painting, Goya’s portrait of the Duke of Wellington, was the only robbery in the history of the National Gallery and one that made the headlines in 1961 – but the full story was never told – until now.
Unlike many other true crime stories that are often popular, this isn’t a story about murder, serial killers, or even kidnapping. It’s a heist, of sorts, but with different motives altogether. Bunton, vocal in his opposition to the government’s use of the television licensing and fees for older community members, is already known in his area for his advocacy and run-ins with the law. His version of the story when he returns the Goya to the museum in person makes sense – why would the story be anything different?
With a stellar performance from Jim Broadbent as Kempton, he plays the character as both lovable and the perfect family man. His performance as the everyday man of the town, with intentions of pure gold, is superb. Matched with Helen Mirren playing his wife Dorothy, a steadfast and serious match for his almost unsophisticated personality – the Buntons come to the screen with these acting greats.
Quirky, engaging, and entertaining, The Duke is finally hitting theaters here in the metro-Detroit area this weekend. This movie will have you rooting for the little guy who takes on the system and tries to make a change even if their motives don’t always make sense. With a fantastic cast taking the lead in the movie, it’s a fun movie that will keep your attention and wanting to know just what happened to the Buntons and the case overall. The movie is nothing short of a piece of art that unfolds for viewers, and is a story you’re not going to want to miss.
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About THE DUKE:
(Opens in NY/LA on 4/22, Opens in Detroit 4/29) THE DUKE is set in 1961 when Kempton Bunton, a 60-year old taxi driver, 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 sent ransom notes saying that he would return the painting on condition that the government agreed to provide television for free to the elderly. What happened next became the stuff of legend. Only 50 years later did the full story emerge – a startling revelation of how a good man set out to change the world and in so doing saved his son and his marriage.
Directed by Roger Michell(SONY PICTURES CLASSICS)