Keeping the entertaining factor in mind; the rich people’s cliches handbook is probably what Inheritance (2020) takes after. It is certainly not a relatable world and the making sense part is up to the audience’s experience in seeing the cinematic universe’s unbelievably rich dynasties (catch the pun) in all their dark secretive glory. Be it political corruption, an expected vacation house that puts most mansions to shame, a “rebellious” daughter doing the least to break out of the cycle while hankering for daddy’s approval, and a coddled son who faces no consequences whatsoever; Vaughn Stein’s thriller has it all, and more. And how could a rich people’s mystery thriller be without a few skeletons hidden in a bunker?
The intrigue starts right off the bat when Lauren, one of the heirs to a massive tycoon’s well-guarded secrets, lets a strange captive into her life post her father’s death. Now this young DA’s nights and days revolve around uncovering the secrets that threaten the very foundation of everything she thought she knew about her family. With suspense worth holding on to and a mystery man captivating enough to keep you hooked, Inheritance is everything that’s to be expected from a fairly interesting mystery thriller, if the expectations are kept in check.
Inheritance (2020) Plot Summary and Movie Synopsis:
Siblings Lauren (Lily Collins) and William’s (Chace Crawford) busy days are interrupted by the news of their tycoon father Archer Monroe’s (Patrick Warburton) death. At the revelatory wake held for the man, all possible hints are given about the strained relationship between the shady, rich father and the righteous daughter who went against his wishes to serve the public as the District Attorney. The irony of two siblings, one being a corrupt congressional candidate and another being an ethics-enforcing DA, isn’t lost despite the compassionate exchanges between Lauren and William, especially considering the expectations of the family that she will clear William’s name. The dividation of the will goes as expected with dad’s favorite son receiving a hefty amount and the “disappointing” daughter getting much less. However, Lauren is surprised to receive an unexpected manila envelope her father had left her; containing a pen drive that holds a secret well kept.
Following her late father’s instructions, Lauren discovers an underground bunker and is dumbstruck to find a strange, old, unkempt man restrained with a neck shackle. The captive, after being bribed with steak and pie, reveals his name to be Morgan (Simon Pegg), an old friend of Archer. Further prodding by Lauren gets him to open up about the reason why he has been locked up by her father. The mysterious scruffy-haired man lets Lauren in on the secret of the homicide her father had committed. According to Morgan, Archer was a poker buddy. On one cursed night, driving shotgun with Archer, he witnessed an accidental murder and an intentional coverup. After burying the body, Archer kept him locked up in the dungeon for his entire life.
Dissatisfied with even the detailed description of the crime and the location of the buried body; Lauren continues to be hesitative of a stranger’s truth which compels him to prove his believability. Opening up a can of worms with further secrets, Morgan continues to baffle Lauren with dirt about Archer she finds hard to digest despite their difficult relationship. Neglecting her family and her job, Lauren goes on a traumatizing journey to verify Morgan’s truth. Not only does she find a mistress her father had kept behind his wife’s back, but also an illegitimate son he bore without anyone’s knowledge. Not being able to trust even their family friend and lawyer Harold (Michael Beach) after finding out that he had helped Archer keep those heartbreaking secrets, Lauren is helpless and confused. Struggling to keep all this nerve-wracking information from her mother Catherine (Connie Nielsen) and facing the moral dilemma of keeping an innocent man hostage, has Lauren looking everywhere for guidance and clues. Going with her benevolent instincts that she certainly did not get from her late father, Lauren decides to help Morgan in spite of her understandable doubts.
Inheritance (2020) Movie Review:
Inheritance is not a place to find greatness or even logic for that matter. Much like the detailed key lime pie recipe that Morgan keeps muttering throughout the movie, a ton of tropes are left without any effort to have them make any sense whatsoever. From the start, the audience is warned against looking too close, lest they find countless flaws. If taken as a casual watch, the mystery can be fairly entertaining.
Simon Pegg as Morgan does his best to add menacing depth to a character that clearly deserved better writing. Lily Collins on the other hand, through no fault of the actress, of course, is simply not right for the lead she plays. Despite being young, Lauren was expected to be someone with more gravitas than Collins can achieve to portray, at least for some more years still. In any scene where she’s supposed to communicate fear or aggression; the performance is flat and unconvincing. If it was the makers’ intention to create a thrilling palette cleanser that is reasonably fun, it is safe to say that they have succeeded. But it would certainly be a stretch to call it a good movie.
Inheritance (2020) Ending Explained:
Is Morgan telling the truth?
As convincing as Morgan was with his story accompanied by the nuanced details that turn out to be true; there remains a doubt in Lauren’s mind about his truthfulness. The conflicts she had with her late father mixed with the guilt she feels for his actions, continue to have a hold on her. The protectiveness she feels for her family heavily influences her decision to have Harold set him up with a Caymen’s account and provide him with a new identity in exchange for his word that he would disappear from their lives. Just as she’s starting to feel unburdened, her whole world comes crashing down when Catherine sees his picture and identifies him as a man named Carson, not Morgan. To Lauren’s shock, the “pure evil” man has murdered Harold and escaped from the jet that was supposed to take him to Caymen Island. Scared for her mother’s well-being, Lauren rushes to the same Morgan/Carson’s place of captivity, only to find her mother restrained by him.
The truth about Morgan is revealed by no one else but him as he proceeds to confess his crimes in the form of justifications. It is found that Morgan, whose real name is Carson, had raped Catherine when they were young and that is what drove Archer to keep him imprisoned in the bunker. Still unaffected by any form of remorse, Morgan explains to Lauren how he is the one who injected Archer with the rat poison that ultimately gave him a heart attack. Enraged by his lost life, Morgan now wants Catherine and Lauren to be locked up and feel what he has been feeling. Broken down Lauren finds a moment of rage to strengthen her and overpower him. And at that moment comes the biggest reveal. Morgan tells Lauren that he is in fact her real biological father, just before Catherine manages to get hold of the gun and shoots him. Catherine doesn’t waste a moment and begins to reassure Lauren about her importance to the family. The two then burn down the bunker along with Morgan’s corpse and stand over the fire with relief.
Lauren not being Archer’s biological daughter explains the coldness that he had felt towards her and treated her with. Despite doing everything she could do to please him, she never really succeeded in making him proud. Catherine’s affection for her daughter, and the reassurances about her father being proud of her, although untrue, certainly came from a genuine place of love and the guilt of secrecy.