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  • Writer's pictureEugene

The Duke (2020)

Our discussion group couldn’t quite believe that Gordon, our usually virtual discussion leader and lockdown quiz master, had made it to Rusthall and was there with us In Real Life.

We all enjoyed The Duke and felt it was an extremely British film. This is why we thought that despite the strong performances by Jim Broadbent and Helen Mirren, it might not be nominated for any Academy awards. As one member of the discussion group said, “You don’t come away a changed person after seeing the film.” It was very entertaining but not earth-shaking.

As with all similar films, it is hard to know what actually was true to life and where great liberties had been taken. Was Kempton Bunton as progressive as he was painted? We wondered, for example, if he had indeed stood up for the rights of an Asian worker and fought against racism in the workplace. Some of the ideas expressed seemed very contemporary.

We all liked the way the film included the Dr No sequence where the Goya painting of the Duke of Wellington was shown. Although some mysteries of the true-life story remained, this certainly was a crowd-pleaser. “10/10,” said one member of the audience leaving the hall. The short films, on the ‘Art-ful’ theme were enjoyed and an interval pop video by the ingenious band OK Go was called “astonishing” by one of the viewers.


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