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Drummond Will, The (DVD Review)

8 Nov, 2011 By: John Latchem

Street 11/15/11
House Lights Media
$24.99 DVD
Not rated.
Stars Mark Oosterveen, Phillip James, Jonathan Hansler, Victoria Jeffrey, Keith Parry, Nigel Osner, Jeremy Drakes.

Howard Drummond did not live a charmed life. Tucked away in an isolated house in a small English village, he was the kind of guy who would ask God to curse youths who made fun of him, and then take delight when they are mauled by bears.

In the opening scenes of The Drummond Will, a charming farce from first-time director Alan Butterworth, Howard is found dead in his home, leading to a sparsely attended funeral that draws out some of the town eccentrics. The audience includes Howard’s prodigal sons: ever-serious stick-in-the-mud Marcus and irrepressibly irresponsible Danny.

Touring their father’s home to see what they inherited, Marcus and Danny discover an old man hiding in a kitchen cabinet clutching a bag of money. As they attempt to determine ownership of the cash, the brothers find the old man (affectionately known as Malcolm the Bastard) wasn’t the only one after it, and the bodies start piling up in the ensuing comedy of errors to possess to the loot. (The notion of unwitting characters mistaken for murderers also is put to great use in the recent American slasher spoof Tucker & Dale vs. Evil.)

Though it’s rough around the edges and a bit unpolished with its editing (understandable for an indie effort), The Drummond Will is punctuated by a characteristically dry British wit. It effectively draws laughs by setting up a seemingly absurd situation and then milking it simply by having a character describe the proceedings accurately to elicit a bizarre reaction from a third party pulled into the scheme.

The interplay between Marcus and Danny reminded me a lot of Dante and Randall, the hapless protagonists of Kevin Smith’s “Clerks” films, in a good way. And, like the first Clerks, The Drummond Will is presented in black-and-white, giving it a timeless quality.

Yet, despite its old-fashioned look and feel, the film is surprisingly contemporary in its pop culture references (one character even notes how wrestling company WWE changed its name to avoid confusion with the World Wildlife Fund). It’s easy to imagine that if Kevin Smith were British, this is a film he’d probably make.

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