Despite an interesting approach and central idea, runtime bloat and falling into some generic devices leaves Inheritance feeling a little flat.
Synopsis: A patriarch of a wealthy and powerful family suddenly passes away, leaving his daughter with a shocking secret inheritance that threatens to unravel and destroy the family.
There is perhaps no better time to be producing films that question privilege, especially when that privilege is inherited through devious means. In Inheritance the central character Lauren Monroe (Lily Collins) is forced to reckon with the idea that her advantages in life are at best, the result of corruption and at worst, the direct dismantling of other people’s lives. When we are introduced to her character she is confident and in control, before she’s ambushed by news of her father’s death. As his inheritance is divided up, she is left in the cold, aside from a bunker on the property, mainly because her work as a lawyer threatened the fortunes of her father’s friends. Upon opening the bunker, she’s confronted with Morgan Warner (Simon Pegg) – a man who has been held captive within it for 30 years.
While Collins’ performance as Lauren is good, the writing of the character is flawed. That confident and capable woman disappears almost instantly she makes the discovery in the bunker, resulting in a few baffling decisions early on that definitely raise an eyebrow. As the story continues there are elements of Lauren reckoning with her own morals that are effective but there is a sense that the strong characterisation alters from scene to scene. On some level it makes sense because she is struggling with a substantial life event but on others it turns hypocritical, which is the very thing the film tells us she isn’t.
The film hits the ground running with a rapid introduction that gets to the important detail. However, some of the ways in which the story unfolds become a little bloated. Despite being enjoyable, there are moments when Simon Pegg’s evolving and progressively manic performance is indulged with perhaps more runtime than would be appropriate. The resultant shift in tone feels slightly off-kilter.
The interplay between Collins and Pegg holds a great deal of it together and their interactions offer plenty in the way of tension as they negotiate the new situation they find themselves in. That they play chess is a little on the nose, but is a reasonable enough expectation in a thriller that so closely relies on two characters trying to figure one another out. Morgan’s comment that Lauren’s family featuring a lawyer, banker and politician form an unholy trinity sits at the heart of the narrative in terms of Lauren’s desperation to separate from those unpleasant things while also trying to connect with her deceased father.
Thematically solid, but with a few lapses in tone and pace Inheritance is worth the watch for the interaction between Pegg and Collins. The narrative, while perhaps trying to add in too much, is compelling enough to support the runtime, even if there are a few moments where you’ll feel the need to check your watch.
Rating 3/5 stars
Inheritance is now available through Signature Entertainment