Wednesday 25 November 2020

Movie Review: Inheritance (2020)

A psychological drama with suspense elements, Inheritance posits a bizarre premise and disappears into yawning logic gaps.

Wealthy businessman Archer Monroe dies and leaves his estate to his wife Catherine (Connie Nielsen), $20 million to his son Congressman William Monroe (Chase Crawford), and only $1 million to his daughter, Manhattan District Attorney Lauren Monroe (Lily Collins). But she also receives a cryptic video message and is shocked to discover Archer kept a prisoner (Simon Pegg) in an underground bunker for 30 years. 

The chained man claims to be Morgan Warner, Archer's friend from their younger days, kept in captivity because he knows a secret that could destroy the Monroes. Now he toys with Lauren to try and gain her sympathy and his freedom. Lauren has to sort out truths from lies and protect her family's legacy.

Written by Matthew Kennedy and directed by Vaughn Stein, Inheritance is an independent production stretching too far to unearth surprises. The story foundation of a business tycoon secretly imprisoning a foe for 30 years in a private bunker is wobbly enough to begin with. The subsequent actions of the supposedly smart and idealistic Lauren are well beyond any logic sphere. Morgan Warner as the antagonist, remarkably sharp and healthy after 30 years underground, also skips past authenticity.

The script is littered with loose ends. Lauren is supposedly lead prosecutor on a massive high-profile financial fraud case. She also has a husband and daughter. All of her career and family obligations are abandoned, as are the halfhearted attempts to link some of Warner's revelations about Archer's secrets to Lauren's present life. Meanwhile, brother William's reelection campaign goes nowhere, while corruption in politics is treated as shock news.

Confronted by the script's internal contradictions, the cast members unsurprisingly flounder, Lily Collins struggling to convince as Lauren frustratingly makes every wrong move just to prolong the mystery. Simon Pegg appears to enjoy a different kind of role as the canny victim hiding secrets, and gradually emerges as the one bright spot.

Inheritance loses more credibility with every new revelation, and as they tumble out of the closets, even the skeletons are rolling their eyes.

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