Director: Alan Butterworth
Writers: Alan Butterworth, Sam Forster
Stars: Mark Oosterveen, Phillip James, Jeremy Drakes
Here in Britain we’ve always had a slightly uncomfortable relationship with ‘the countryside’. It’s beautiful, for sure, but frankly speaking – as far as cinema is concerned, at any rate – it’s populated by weird people and frequently dangerous. There’s a whole genre of films in which city dwellers visit rural locations and come a cropper; these metropolitan types have grown soft, is the message, and they can’t cope any more with the rawer, less sophisticated likes of, well, Wales. Or Essex. So you get the likes of The Wicker Man, Straw Dogs and Eden Lake, films where city slickers are burnt, sacrificed, raped, beaten up and generally made to suffer by their yokel antagonists. (It’s a genre, by the way, that isn’t unique to Britain, in Spain it’s even more evident).
The Drummond Will is a comedy thriller that taps into this theme, throwing in a little bit of the Coen Brothers and a large dash of Withnail and I. Brothers Marcus (Mark Oosterveen) and Danny (Phillip James) return home to the middle of nowhere for their father’s funeral. They discover that he’s left them a somewhat decrepit house. In that house is a wardrobe; in that wardrobe is a bag being held by a crazy old man (‘Malcolm the Bastard’); and in that bag is a large amount of cash. Unfortunately, ‘Malcolm the Bastard’ dies in an accident, starting a chain reaction which involves more accidental deaths, blackmail, murder and free-wheeling caravans. All of which is made all the more complicated by the fact that the two brothers don’t particularly like each other…
A low budget production shot in black and white and released in 2010, this is a thoroughly entertaining and impressive little film. It has more than a little in common with the TV series The Detectorists, most particularly in the way it mixes shots of the rural landscapes with sharply observed comedy; although with its village populated by gay vicars, odd policemen and demented Colonels it also bears some similarity to Hot Fuzz (which came out a few years earlier). Technically, although the production values are variable it’s still attractive to look at and well paced, with performances that sometimes verge on the theatrical but are never grating. Recommended.