INHERIT THE VIPER
(Germany/US - 2020)
INHERIT THE VIPER plays a lot like a pilot episode for a SONS OF ANARCHY-type FX series about the dynamics of a white trash oxy empire. Debuting director Anthony Jerjen does a very thorough job of establishing the atmosphere with effective location work in some beaten-down areas of Birmingham, AL that can charitably be described as "unwelcoming," vividly capturing the bleak and depressing surroundings in the same way as WINTER'S BONE and OUT OF THE FURNACE. Andrew Crabtree's script probably could've used another run-through, with Kip and Boots more or less stock characters: Kip is a shrewd businessman but has a good heart in the way he skims off the inventory to give a few pills to a struggling local veteran, and Boots is the naive kid who wants to make his mark in the family business but is dumb enough to buy himself a flashy, attention-getting sports car and drive it to a drug buy. We keep hearing about how no one fucks with the Conleys, but that's all anyone seems to do, and Kip's instant response is "OK, we're done, we're walking away."
(Germany/France/UK/Latvia/Russia - 2019; US release 2020)
Cesvaine Palace in Latvia, and with its foreboding appearance outside and the BARRY LYNDON-esque natural lighting inside, it looks a lot like the a present-day throwback to the kind of gothic horror films that Hammer or Amicus would've made in the early 1970s. The film opens with reclusive classical composer Richard Marlowe (the late Rutger Hauer, in one of his last films) putting the finishing touches on his final masterwork, after which he proceeds to douse himself in gasoline and set himself ablaze. His only heir is his estranged daughter, renowned violin prodigy Rose Fisher (Freya Tingley), who has no memories of him as he abandoned her mother when Rose was just a year old. She's kept the identity of her father a secret, even from her devoted manager Charles (Simon Abkarian), to avoid any chance of the connection furthering her career. As Charles puts it, Marlowe was "more notorious than famous," and an ex-colleague (James Faulkner) calls him a mad, innovative genius who flamed out too young, describing him as "the Syd Barrett of classical music."
|Rutger Hauer (1944-2019)