The Inheritance

The Inheritance


Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

In the nether fields of no budget filmmaking the script is king, which is why The Inheritance kicks off with such an advantage. Tim Barrow’s screenplay – let’s call it a diatribe – is starkly honest. There are no polite references to Scotland’s heritage, midges-to-go scenery, or family bonds that heal the wounds of separation. This is the story of two brothers who hate each other on a journey of self-discovery. What they’re looking for are pots of gold. What they find is themselves.

David (Barrow) is a skinny rat of a man, who has misspent the last five years in London. Fraser (Fraser Sivewright) stayed in Edinburgh, was mummy’s boy until mummy died and knew that dad preferred the prodigal exile to him. Now the old codger is herring bait and David has taken the train up north in the hope of cashing in on the spoils. Naturally, he’s late for the funeral, but on hand when Fraser opens the safe in dad’s workshop. Inside they find a key and a note, saying that they must go to Skye where they will find what they are looking for.

What David is looking for is an inheritance and lots of it. What Fraser is looking for is the right thing. David wouldn’t know what this means. What’s wrong with money? It’s skint relief and well deserved after suffering childhood and the guilt of parental expectation. Now they have the old man’s VW camper van and the open road. And Tara (Imogen Toner).

The girl is a distraction. Or is she gagging for it? She’s hitchhiking in Glencoe and Fraser pulls over. David can’t be bothered, takes no notice, insults her like he insults Fraser.

“What are you? Some kind of artist?”

“Some kind.”

She takes full advantage, plays one brother off against the other and is desirable in a mud-slippery, warm-blooded kind of way. Three things cause explosions in this world – politics, money and sex. Forget politics and light the blue touch paper.

Essentially a two-hander, this is a film of astonishing conviction. Charles Henri Belleville directs with the vigour and confidence of a man who knows where he’s going, unlike his protagonists, and Chris Beck’s cinematography is exceptional by any standards.

Road movies come with clichés attached. Thanks to dialogue that strips convention to the bone, they have no effect here because they wouldn’t survive the verbal onslaught. Similarly, sentimentality miscarries and even Tara’s intervention has a sting in its tail. There is no place for hope in the dark dungeon of Barrow’s mind. As David, he’s in full fury mode almost the entire time, while Sivewright uses different shades of sibling discomfort to express Fraser’s repressed rage.

The West of Scotland Tourist Board might like to pretend this never happened. David, too.

Reviewed on: 31 Oct 2007
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Two brothers who hate each other drive to Skye to search for their dead daddy's money.

Director: Charles Henri Belleville

Writer: Tim Barrow

Starring: Fraser Sivewright, Tim Barrow, Imogen Toner, Tom Hardy

Year: 2007

Runtime: 62 minutes

Country: UK

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