The Inheritors review

Described as "an Alpine Western" by its writer-director Stefan Ruzowitzky, The Inheritors has been showered with awards on the international festival circuit.

Set in an Austrian farming village in the wake of World War One, it begins with the mysterious murder of a wealthy old farmer. Seven peasants inherit the dead man's estate, but rather than selling their shares as the foreman proposes, they decide to run the property as a co-operative. However, greedy local land-owners led by Danninger (Wildgruber) are determined to keep the territory for themselves and are prepared to use force to restore the status quo...

The Inheritors is populated by grotesques, which makes it hard to identify with any of the characters. The script strives for allegorical significance with its fairytale allusions, yet its formulations are frequently simplistic. Despite all the killings, rapes, thefts and protests, this class-conflict saga remains strangely soporific.

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