DVD Review: The Inheritance

13 Feb

Brotherly love is put to the test in new Scottish short film The Inheritance, the road movie at the heart of the tale spanning both the country and the past few decades.

Reunited for their father’s funeral after years apart, brothers Fraser (Fraser Sivewright) and Tim (Tim Barrow) are forced to head to Skye to retrieve their inheritance. On the way they discover more about each other and their family while offering a stranger (Imogen Toner) a lift.

With a budget of just £5000 and a tiny 11 day shoot around Scotland, Edinburgh-based director Charles Henri-Belleville has done the near impossible, putting together a cinema worthy, award winning film which is stands up there with some of its bigger brothers.

On screen for almost every scene, Sivewright and Barrow make an engaging pair, their relationship a believable one. As the brothers are forced to face more and more facts about each other, the mystery remains a genuinely intriguing one, the script offering up enough nuggets of information to keep the 62 minute run time zipping along nicely.

Half-improvised, half-scripted, the dialogue is both humorous and insightful without ever tipping too much towards pretentiousness, something that is often the case when emotions are being discussed on screen.

The film also looks great, the amazing scenery of Scotland’s West Coast given equal screen time to the more banal scenes that make up a Scottish journey in a camper van. Whether eating chips in front of the Forth Rail Bridge or standing by a loch, the film makes the country look “real” rather than the shortbread tin image beloved of some other depictions of Scotland on-screen.

While the constant repetition of the f-word late on in the film does grate after a time, its overuse odd for a film that surely needs as wide an audience as possible, the only other main gripe is the obscure nature of the ending. While I have a few theories as to what was being hinted at, and I’m all for making the audience think, I do wonder if this was the best choice for a closing scene.

Funny, smart and at times moving, this is an accomplished production that deserves all the plaudits thrown at it. While it’s a shame film makers seem to find it so difficult to find funding for decent scripts, the hard work on display here (also covered in a superb hour long documentary that is invaluable for budding Spielberg’s everywhere) has paid off in spades.

Visit The Inheritance website for ordering details

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One Response to “DVD Review: The Inheritance”

  1. Miquel Rodriguez Telep 13 February, 2009 at 4:12 pm #

    I agree about the ending — it was highly disappointing. Really, although I had a bit of hope for the script at first, it tapered off quickly. The acting was a bit monotone as well, but I think perhaps that was due to the director’s inexperience.

    While what they’ve done for the money IS laudable, it shouldn’t excuse the blemishes. Good on Barrow for creating a vehicle for his work, but I think he’s more of an actor than a writer — although perhaps he should consider producing as a career, considering what he pulled together for this film and the subsequent marketing push (I saw the DVD after Barrow dropped some off in Blackwell).

    The documentary was a good idea for marketing purposes as well but, like a lot of these, I fast-forwarded through half of it to skip everyone patting each other on the back. That said, however, there were some decent tips in it, and it’s worth a watch for indie filmmakers.

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