You know that weird thing that happens when a family member passes away and suddenly a whole host of long-buried family stories and secrets is unearthed?
In Vaughn Stein‘s latest film INHERITANCE, a woman is faced with handling explosive revelations In the wake of her father’s untimely death.
Lily Collins plays Lauren Monroe, the black sheep of the uber-wealthy Monroe clan. In contrast to her elitist and capitalistic family, Lauren is an idealistic lawyer-turned-New York District Attorney. Her career choice and people-over-corporations values cause a great deal of tension between her and her father (played by Patrick Warburton), as well as some, albeit to a lesser degree, with her mother (Connie Nielson) and her career politician brother (Chace Crawford).
When Lauren’s father unexpectedly dies, her inheritance is one-million dollars (meant as a final “fuck you” – her father leaves her brother twenty-million) and a pre-recorded video of himself telling Lauren about a secret underground bunker located on the family’s summer property.
In the bunker, Lauren discovers a man named Morgan Warner (played by Simon Pegg) – her father had been holding him prisoner for the past thirty or so years.
The rest of the film follows Lauren as she unravels the hidden truths about her father – and her family. She presses Morgan for details about his imprisonment and relationship with her father, all while forming a quid pro quo rapport with him.
INHERITANCE has all the ingredients needed for a good film: a talented cast, a plot with high stakes, great cinematography. But overall it just doesn’t come together as well as it should. The dialogue (written by Matthew Kennedy) is bland and the plot (including the “twist” at the end) is predictable.
The protagonist isn’t as smart, clever, or logical as she should have been, given her established career as a prosecutor. The other characters in the film seem to be there to serve as background noise – underdeveloped and underused. The central family – Lauren, her mother, her brother, and her husband and daughter – don’t have nearly enough screen time together to make the audience believe that they even have a bond, nevermind has any sense of loyalty to each other.
Simon Pegg’s character, though central to the plot, is similarly underwhelming and strikes more as a caricature rather than a believable person.
INHERITANCE doesn’t even pass the Bechdel Test. In a film with a female protagonist. In 2020.
INHERITANCE is available on DirecTV now and will be available On Digital and On Demand on May 22.