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Leon C. Allen,
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In early Republican China, rumors were going around about the treasure in Wudang Mountain. An American conspirator took his well-trained kung fu daughter to Wudang by sponsoring a Taoist martial arts competition, to steal the treasure.
Black Ops operative Malcolm Gray returns home after a botched mission in Eastern Europe. Holed up in a Brooklyn motel room, he is torn between retribution and personal salvation as he mentally unravels. When the walls close in, his story may be all he can leave behind. Written by
Thomas Ikimi edited the film and then Richard Graham was brought on to refine and re cut parts Thomas' edit. Richard Graham's input was invaluable as he somehow managed to shave off 15 minutes of the film but still maintain the integrity of Thomas' edit, which Richard respected. It ended up a good partnership. See more »
I was lucky enough to have seen Legacy at its world premiere closing the 2010 Glasgow Film Festival, where it was introduced by the producers and the writer/director Thomas Ikimi. The audience was informed of an intriguing production history Ikimi had to source funding from personal contacts in Nigeria, the film was entirely shot in Scotland but mainly set in New York, and Idris Elba, who was also the Executive Producer, took advantage of his connections in the US to acquire much of the cast. Despite a seemingly infeasible gap between the ambitious aspirations and the miniscule budget, it largely succeeds in sustaining a credible and engaging dramatic narrative centred around a 'Black Ops' soldier dealing with the consequences of a failed mission and his earlier actions.
Elba plays Michael Gray, and his compelling central performance (he is in almost every scene) begins with an armed encounter in which his unit's attempt to tackle a Ukranian-born arms dealer ends catastrophically. Following ten months in a military hospital to overcome the torture that he is subsequently subjected to, he returns to Brooklyn and moves in to a run-down apartment for a period of reflection and contemplation. The impressive, elaborate plot that unfolds comfortably melds action sequences and art-house elements, and moves in a range of directions that simultaneously focus on psychological deterioration, the nature of political success (Gray's older brother is a senator on the verge of announcing a presidential campaign) and the responsibilities of the media.
Elba's robust performance aside, the film also features strong supporting acts (including his Wire co-star Clarke Peters) and some outstanding technical flourishes. I particularly liked the vibrant sound effects, from the deafening explosive gunfire to the subtle resonances that perfectly complemented the claustrophobic apartment setting, and the minimal but effective score. My one minor criticism is common to this sub-genre an unreliable narrator who blurs the lines between the imagined and the real can lead to occasional frustration/confusion for the audience. It is, however, highly recommended, and a very welcome development for film-making in Scotland.
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