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Film reviews.

Byline: Brinley Hamer Jones

MY KINGDOM (18) WITH its opening words, ``As flies to wanton boys, so are we to the Gods,'' My Kingdom suggests a classical origin - in this case the Bard himself.

Shakespearean adaptations take many forms, of course, and this potentially inventive attempt concerns an aging Liverpool gangland boss who decides to hand over the running of much of his empire to his three daughters. Sound familiar?

Richard Harris plays Sandeman whose wife, Mandy, played by Lynn Redgrave, is shot during an apparent mugging, thus prompting the old man's desire for semiretirement.

His attempts at power sharing do not go well, however, as his youngest wants nothing to do with his criminal empire, while the others take the opportunity to take revenge on the old man for waiting so long to hand over the reins.

Despite its classical origins, however, and its compelling storyline, it is only Harris's bravura throaty performance that holds the whole thing together.

Tom Bell and Adrian Gillen are passably convincing as zealous Customs man and corrupt copper respectively, while Paul McGann and Jimi Mistry play the sons-inlaw with a credible mixture of caution and brutality.

Also see - Slap Her, She's French (12A)

TEDIOUS teen comedy of manners in which a French exchange student - who sounds as Gallic as Bugs Bunny - seeks to usurp the pre-eminent position of the chief cheerleader and prom queen at an American high school.

Makes the occasional telling point about the tyranny of populism in modern American high schools, but it's been done better elsewhere. Piper Perabo, of Coyote Ugly fame, and Jane McGregor star.

Rating 4/10

At a glance

AN ageing Liverpool gangster hands the reins of his criminal empire over to his daughters when his wife is shot during an apparent mugging.

Rather than show gratitude, the girls take their revenge at what they saw as too long a delay in sharing power.

Best moment

THE film's opening moments reveal a man used to getting his own way, as Sandeman (Richard Harris) - while attending an orchestral concert - carries on a loud conversation on his mobile phone oblivious to the protesting glances around him.

The daughters, however, who are a brothel-keeper, a football club owner, and an ex-junkie - and are played by Louise Lombard, Lorraine Pilkington and Emma Catherwood respectively - fail to convince.

Its lofty origins notwithstanding, the film is one of the less impressive additions to the recent crop of British gangster films.

A case of jumping on a welltrodden bandwagon, partly saved by Harris and director Don Boyd's bleak imagery.

Rating 5/10
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Copyright 2002 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Oct 18, 2002
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