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Film Review: ‘The Heir Apparent: Largo Winch’ is Cliché Drowned in French Style
CHICAGO – From what I understand, the name Largo Winch is a household one in Europe. While it may mean nothing here, a French spy thriller with a name like “The Heir Apparent: Largo Winch,” based on a European comic book, might sound like the perfect alternative for arthouse movie goers looking for something different this holiday weekend. Sadly, from the very beginning, “Largo Winch” feels like nothing different at all. It’s surprisingly generic, clichéd, and often dull, with only a few set pieces and dashes of French style to separate it. Far from a complete disaster, but forgettable in nearly every way.
“The Heir Apparent” opens as a number of thrillers have – with the death of a very rich man. One minute, Mr. Nerio Winch (Miki Manojlovic) is lounging in his bathrobe on a boat, the next he’s being pulled underwater and drowned by a silent assassin. It is revealed that the poor waterlogged millionaire was the head of the Winch International Group, a shady, powerful organization with ties around the world. Their exact purpose is never clear, kind of like Blofeld’s dealings in the Bond movies or Halliburton.
|Read Brian Tallerico’s full review of “The Heir Apparent: Largo Winch” in our reviews section.|
Nerio Winch must have known that he would have numerous enemies throughout his life, for we learn that many years ago he adopted a Croatian boy and had him raised by another couple. You see, he needed an heir. As the powers that want to take over WIG battle in the boardroom, Ann Ferguson (an always luminous Kristin Scott Thomas) reveals the existence of Largo Winch and things get overly complicated from there. What are Ann’s motives? What about the looming takeover of the company? How can a dashing young Croatian man save the company? It’s half an hour before the plot really gets going with Largo’s prison escape and you’re unlikely to care when it does.
When Largo finally arrives in the boardroom, he makes his intentions to solve his father’s murder (which everyone thinks was accidental) clear, and the piece becomes an odd hybrid of corporate intrigue and spy/action movie — corporate takeovers and gun fights. It’s “Margin Call” meets 007. A man comes into the boardroom to reveal something and gets shot in the eye. It’s a film that attempts to blend boardroom drama with James Bond-esque action and the blend doesn’t quite take. Heated conversations about Largo’s rights and who will takeover the company don’t have quite the intensity that the filmmakers think they do.;
The Heir Apparent: Largo Winch
Photo credit: Music Box Films