Review: ‘The Drummond Will’

Uneven but diverting, sometimes hilarious pic is an alfresco farce in which squabbling brothers reunite.

Uneven but diverting, sometimes hilarious “The Drummond Will” is an alfresco farce in which squabbling brothers reunited for their father’s funeral find themselves amid an Agatha Christie-worthy pileup of dead English village elders. Already the well-traveled recipient of audience awards at smaller festivals, Alan Butterworth’s debut feature could parlay that appeal into specialized home-format sales while giving principal collaborators a career leg up.

Duty calls genially immature Danny (Philip James) and priggish Marcus (Mark Oosterveen) back to their birth hamlet, not that they’ve bothered seeing cranky Dad, or each other, for years. When one of their father’s equally cranky pub buddies is discovered hiding in a closet clutching a sackful of Euros (assumed to be the younger men’s inheritance), a series of variably accidental deaths commence. Score and black-and-white lensing lend some deadpan shading to goings-on that are occasionally too broad, especially in hammy support turns by Jonathan Hansler’s constable and Nigel Osner’s vicar. But the bumbling bros’ adventures escalate nicely toward slapstick mayhem, en route flaunting an agreeable Ealing-meets-Farrelly feel on modest means.

The Drummond Will

U.K.

Production

A Knee-Jerk Film production. Produced by Tobias Tobbell. Executive producers, Daniel Clark, Alan Butterworth. Directed by Alan Butterworth. Screenplay, Sam Forster, Butterworth.

Crew

Camera (B&W, HD-to-Beta SP), Adam Etherington; editor, Alex Emslie; music, Charlie Westropp; production designer, Stephanie Kennedy; costume designer, Emma Harding. Reviewed at Palm Springs Film Festival (World Cinema Now), Jan. 15, 2011. Running time: 81 MIN.

With

Mark Oosterveen, Philip James, Jonathan Hansler, Nigel Osner, Keith Parry, Victoria Jeffrey, Eryl Lloyd-Parry, Morrison Thomas, David Manson, Jeremy Drakes.

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