The Duke

An art heist by the aged?!  Get ready to laugh at The Duke as another charming caper is unleashed!

Director Roger Michell (Notting Hill, The Weekend) might not be with us anymore, but his final narrative film, The Duke, is reason enough to celebrate the cinematic output he left us with.  Like a typical Mitchell offering, The Duke is both heartfelt and hilarious, offering the audience one last look at the type of material this British director was so good at delivering time and time again.

"fun-filled, light as air, and absolutely enjoyable from beginning to end"

Starring Jim Broadbent and Helen Mirren, The Duke is about a gracious and generous elderly man, Kempton Bunton, who is always there for veterans and for his like-minded aging population.  There’s always something eating at him, though.  If it’s not worker’s rights, it is something else.  He might be old, but his spirit is young.

And now, as The Duke opens, Kempton finds himself wanting to take action against the government yet again.  He has no use for a taxation placed among the elderly - especially as it comes from owning a television.  He sees himself in an ideal light, you know like a modern day Robin Hood, stealing from the rich and giving to the poor or at the very least sticking it to the man.  

His wife, Dorothy, knows he is a downright idiot.  She’s always having to work harder in the wake of all his efforts to help out the downtrodden.  Theirs is a special bond. Oh, they are loving enough, but a quibble-filled relationship is at its center and it has them bickering time and time again with hilarious results.  Their relationship might be fun for us to hear as they go back and forth with each other, but it is a constant headache and worry for Dorothy, who has grievances of her own to deal with, too.

When the National Gallery of Art in London gets more press than he does over his current complaints against the government, he walks right into the museum and steals Francisco Goya’s Duke of Wellington painting.  It’s simple.  It’s hilarious.  And, with the help of his son, Jackie (Fionn Whitehead), he hides it in Dorothy’s wardrobe, hoping she won’t notice the painting.The Duke

His plan is simple.  He’s holding the painting for ransom to pay the damned television tax for the elderly and the veterans.  It can’t go wrong.  Yet, it does.  And, to keep the heat off of his family,, he winds up turning himself in.  

Maybe his cause will get more attention that way?

Written by Richard Bean and Clive Coleman and featuring a solid cast which includes Matthew Goode, The Duke is yet another fun-loving farce which only Michell could pull off.  It’s the type of movie that only pros could pull off successfully.  It’s fun-filled, light as air, and absolutely enjoyable from beginning to end.  It is also laugh out loud funny as Broadbent gets kookier and crazier in his role as the gentle thief and Mirren, every bit as enjoyable as Broadbent, finds herself at wits end dealing with his endless shenanigans.

Based on a true story, The Duke makes for some of the funniest folk hero moments ever put on film thanks to the comedic timing of two old pros: Broadbent and Mirren.  It opens from Sony Pictures Classics, this Friday.

4/5 stars

Film Details

The Duke

MPAA Rating: R for language and brief sexuality.
95 mins
: Roger Mitchell
Richard Bean; Clive Coleman
Jim Broadbent; Heather Craney; Stephen Rashbrook
: Bography | Crime | Comedy
The priceless true story.
Memorable Movie Quote: "I'd just finished reading Joseph Conrad's Heart Of Darkness and I felt a need to explore Sunderland."
Theatrical Distributor:
Sony Pictures Classics
Official Site:
Release Date:
March 25, 2022
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:

Synopsis: In 1961, Kempton Bunton, a 60 year old taxi driver, steals Goya's portrait of the Duke of Wellington from the National Gallery in London.


The Duke