Review by Sean Boelman
After his unfairly maligned (and actually quite fun) debut Terminal, director Vaughn Stein’s newest film Inheritance largely lacks the inspiration that put him on the map (for better or worse). Unfortunately, the script by first-timer Matthew Kennedy is so bland that it is hard to enjoy its occasionally strong elements.
The movie follows an up-and-coming district attorney whose father dies unexpectedly, leaving her an unexpected and shocking inheritance that threatens to undermine the power and wealth of the family. It’s an intriguing premise that isn’t fully taken advantage of, with twists and turns that are frustratingly predictable.
A big part of the issue here is that the film is simply too long. At over an hour and fifty minutes in length, the movie truly struggles to keep the audience’s attention for the entirety of its runtime. The middle section is particularly slow, composed of conversations between the two characters with some flashbacks, many of which could have been cut out.
That said, perhaps more damning is that the film is almost entirely exposition. It’s a giant info dump that leaves little to the viewer to discern, force-feeding them anything of depth that the movie has in regards to its themes. A bit of subtlety could have elevated this film above the plethora of other thrillers with similar premises.
The character development is also very lackluster. There are two lead characters, and neither of them has a particularly compelling arc. The protagonist’s arc is supposed to lean into the moral ambiguity of the situation, but instead, it plays off as indecisiveness. The co-lead is very generic and archetypal.
Lily Collins isn’t particularly impressive in the lead role. Sadly, she simply isn’t believable as the character. For the most part, her role is lacking in emotion, but when she does go for it, it is very over-the-top. Simon Pegg gives a performance that is at least moderately entertaining, although it’s not particularly fitting given the otherwise serious nature of the movie.
The film falls flat on a technical level too. It’s certainly disappointing that, given the highly stylish thriller that his debut was, Stein didn’t do more to give this one a bit of flair. Even the portions of the movie that are set in a confined location don’t work well at all, lacking a sense of visual geography.
Inheritance is a very disappointing and ultimately quite boring thriller. There are a few solid moments throughout, and Simon Pegg gives it his all, but those aren’t enough to make this dull script worth your time.
Inheritance hits VOD on May 22.