Directed by Vaughn Stein.
Starring Lily Collins, Simon Pegg, Connie Nielsen, Chace Crawford, Marque Richardson, Michael Beach, Joe Herrera, Christina DeRosa, Lucas Alexander Ayoub, Rebecca Adams, Mariyah Francis, Chris Gann, Jim E Chandler, Harrison Stone, Josh Murray. Lydia Hand, Grae Marino, Ashley Pereira, and Patrick Warburton.
A patriarch of a wealthy and powerful family suddenly passes away, leaving his wife and daughter with a shocking secret inheritance that threatens to unravel and destroy their lives.
A lawyer, a banker, and the politician walk into a bar, or in this case comprise a shady wealthy dynasty in Inheritance. That is until patriarch Archer Monroe (played by Patrick Warburton, a head-scratching decision that naturally comes to make sense the more the story continues to fly off the rails) suddenly dies of a heart attack while on a drive despite having no pre-existing medical conditions or anything putting his physical health into question. As to be expected, the news rocks the rest of the family, which consists of New York district attorney Lauren Monroe (Lily Collins), congressman William Monroe (Chace Crawford), and the matriarch Catherine (Connie Nielsen).
Gathering at the family’s summer home, Archer’s lawyer Harold (Michael Beach) reads out the will, which contains some clear favorites among each member’s titular inheritance. Not only does Lauren receive far less money from those around her, she is single-handedly chosen to be given an envelope withholding a thumb drive that comes loaded with a video from a distressed Archer rambling about his past and a secret inside the backyard bunker that he only trusts his daughter to uncover, but a secret that also must be kept in buried to keep the family legacy intact.
Shifting tones to briefly resemble a horror movie, Lauren descends into the darkness of the bunker eventually reaching a pitch-black room where a disheveled and unkempt man lies chained and hollered. Naturally, Lauren panics and runs away, but not before deciding to go back and ask some questions. The man says his name is Morgan Warner and that he is ready to spill the beans on some reprehensible behavior of Archer that left him kidnapped and barely kept alive for what has to be at least 30 years.
As important as the setup is, the plot of Inheritance doesn’t really matter (don’t even begin to think about it after the movie ends, because at least half of it doesn’t even follow real-world logic). It’s predictable and clearly doesn’t give a damn about exploring any dynamics between the aforementioned unholy trinity of the family’s individual professions. Instead, it becomes a psychological game between Lauren and Morgan searching for the truth among what is most likely a twisted retelling of the past. If Inheritance finds a following and is remembered at all, it will be for how goddamn entertaining Simon Pegg is as Morgan, quickly morphing the proceedings into compelling trash. The physical appearance of the actor is already unrecognizable (he looks like a homeless depiction of Final Fantasy VII‘s Sephiroth), recites the ingredients of a key lime pie (usually during his workout sessions) that he desperately wants to try once regaining freedom, and swears up and down that the Monroe family has done him wrong.
Lily Collins is also fine, shellshocked at every new tarnishing revelation, and as a woman now questioning everything she knows about her family (she become suspicious of anything the rest of her family tells her, especially her brother). Her creed of standing by the poor and less fortunate while carrying out duties with honor and dignity is put to the task in the most absurd fashion possible. It’s a miracle she can even hold it together around such ludicrous developments without slipping into camp of her own.
And it’s fucking glorious. Credit to Simon Pegg for lately taking roles that wildly go against his comedic persona (I also recommend checking out the recent drama Lost Transmissions where he plays a schizophrenic musician) and giving his all to them. By the end of Inheritance, he has gone full bonkers channeling some of the rage from Al Pacino’s more boisterous cinematic meltdowns (think The Devil’s Advocate), taking a rather conventional thriller and lifting it up to the status of riveting garbage. Simon Pegg and Lily Collins seem to be acting in completely different movies, yet it works like opposites attracting, as they skillfully wring out nasty fun from this basic script. Seek this out on-demand immediately; I’m not going to say it is Simon Pegg’s best role, but it will be hard to disassociate him from this after having watched it. He’s having a blast playing someone mischievous, manipulative, and dangerous, and it’s a rush to behold.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★ ★
Robert Kojder is a member of the Chicago Film Critics Association and the Flickering Myth Reviews Editor. Check here for new reviews, friend me on Facebook, follow my Twitter or Letterboxd, check out my personal non-Flickering Myth affiliated Patreon, or email me at MetalGearSolid719@gmail.com