My Kingdom review

Medieval England steps aside in favour of modern day Liverpool for Don Boyd's retelling of Shakespeare's King Lear. Richard Harris is Sandeman, an aging crime lord aching to hand the reins of the family leg-breaking business over to someone else. But what can he do when his favourite daughter Jo (Emma Catherwood) doesn't want it and his other girls, Kath and Tracy (Louise Lombard and Lorraine Pilkington), want it far too much?

Grim and gritty, Boyd's retelling translates the basic plot of King Lear perfectly - but then struggles to develop it. Unwieldly chunks of Shakespeare's play are hung onto out of blind loyalty, while some new story strands (including a drug smuggling deal involving cows) are brushed away far too quickly.

Harris, though, is awesome, depicting Sandeman's fall from charismatic, scary mobster to bumbling, weepy old man with incredible skill and power. It's the force of his performance that rivets the whole thing together, even when the film itself threatens to disintegrate towards the end.


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