The British film and theatre director Roger Michell, who began his career in the late 1990s, worked quite successfully in the genres of mainstream drama ("Changing Lanes") and romantic comedy ("Notting Hill") and could also hit it almost out of the park with edgier fare like "Enduring Love" and "Venus" as the early 2000s went on.

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Sadly, this is his final film. His 1993 British miniseries "The Buddha of Suburbia," the first in a series of collaborations with author Hanif Kureishi, is worth watching.

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Although "The Duke" is not his all-time best film, it is a very good one and effectively displays his range of talents as a director.

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The Duke of Wellington portrait by Goya, created about 1812, was stolen from the National Gallery in 1961; this is the true story on which the film is based. 

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Jim Broadbent plays Kempton Bunton, an intelligent working man in Newcastle on Tyne who continually loses his jobs due to his passionate and in-depth ideas about the rights of the underclass and the elderly. 

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It is apparent that he is happy with his meaty character. (He works as a cab driver first, then moves bread around in a bakery.)

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He also writes plays on the side. One of his topics is the passing of their teenage daughter, much to the dismay of his wife Dorothy.

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The script by Richard Bean and Clive Coleman introduces us to Kempton as he is being tried for the crime, then jumps forward six months to paint a picture of the eccentric activist he was. 

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There are a few inspectors who visit his home. It appears that he has a TV in the family apartment. 

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However, he lacks the BBC licence that was necessary at the time. Kempton clarifies that while he does, in fact, have a television, he has taken the coil necessary for BBC reception out of it. No BBC, he says, means no licence.

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