My Kingdom Review

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King Lear relocates to Liverpool, as crime boss Sandeman's empire falls apart after the murder of his wife. His greedy daughters Kath and Tracy are pushing him out; only estranged daughter Jo might be able to offer shelter from the storm.


When he's not being done straight or Baz Luhrmann-sexy, William Shakespeare keeps a hold on the cinema screen from beyond the grave as his works get a makeover.

Here, King Lear transfers to the banks of the Mersey in a crimeland drama that brings a closer focus to Shakespeare's themes of a family - rather than a kingdom - broken by power and ambition. Richard Harris offers up a steely gaze beneath a flowing white mane as the ageing patriarch whose blinded arrogance has created two poisonous daughters, and one whose genuine love has come at huge personal cost.

Where the film falls down is in its messy treatment of characters outside the immediate family unit - the husbands, minders and, particularly, the police. The end isn't nearly as strong as what has gone before, but this is a valid reinterpretation of a well-worn text, lifted by a towering central performance.

Rather than a line-by-line, character-by-character match to the Shakespeare play, Boyd uses King Lear's overall structure to offer a fresh reading of its themes.