Inspector Drake: The Movie (2011) – By Duane L. Martin

The police station is being torn down, and as an older policeman boxes up old case files, he comes across one that had been stuck at the back of a file cabinet since 1937. Reading through it, he becomes fascinated, and goes to find the last person involved with the case who’s still alive and living in a nursing home, Sergeant Plod.

Close to death, old Sergeant Plod never has any visitors and never really speaks to anyone, yet he seems to be clinging to life for some reason that no one understands. When the police inspector visits him and asks him about the case in the file, which he had worked on with Inspector Blake, Plod suddenly comes out of his daze and tells the inspector the whole story.

It’s 1937, and whilst in Africa, Captain Von Kirk had looted a sacred ceremonial head from the Nakumba tribe. Legend has it that anyone who touches the head will be plagued by a demon and ultimately killed by it, having their head severed and sliced into four equal pieces. While walking in the woods one night, Sergeant Plod comes across a severed head, and calls on headquarters to send out the legendary Inspector Drake to help solve the case. The pair team up to get to the bottom of it all, but who is the real killer? Is it really a demon? Could it be the butler? Captain Von Kirk? His wife? His daughter? The nosy, angularly challenged maid, or someone else all together? That’s the question. Now they just have to find the answer.

The Flying Ducks theater company wanted to make a film to celebrate their 25th anniversary, which they accomplished on a budget of £10,000 with a one man crew using a damn good camcorder, unpaid actors, some great props and costumes, and a lot of stolen and borrowed locations, the film came together. Boy did it. It comes in at a whopping 150 minutes long! So is it worth sitting through that much film? The answer, I’m happy to say, is a resounding yes!

This film is basically like someone took fun of The Naked Gun films, smooshed it together with the self-aware comedy of Green Acres, and set it in 1937. That’s about the best way I can describe it. The self-aware humor creates some of the best gags in the film. I don’t want to get into it too much, because it would ruin it for those seeing it for the first time, but some of the best gags involve very cheap props.

What really makes this story shine though is the phenomenally talented cast. These folks are just amazing, bringing their characters to life in a way that you rarely see in an independent film. The greatest testament to this is that the whole time you’re watching the film, you know you’re watching a silly, self-aware comedy, and yet the characters and their relationships with each other come off as very real and believable on a level that you’d never expect to find in a comedy like this. I’m actually hard pressed to remember when I’ve seen a better all around cast in an independent film. Everyone really understood their characters and what the film was supposed to be and just ran with it.

The look of the film was brilliant as well. Everything from the costuming to the set design and props were all either authentic looking, fun or both. This really created the environment that allowed the characters to be their best. The camera work was virtually perfect, and it’s amazing to me that these folks have never made a film before. The visual quality is excellent, the sound is perfect, even though it’s very long, it’s edited and paced really well, and the lighting is excellent. There’s even some special effects! If this is what they can do with their first film, I can’t wait to see what they come out with in the future. This one is just incredible and so much fun to watch that even after two and a half hours, you’re sad to see it end.

The film is available through the website at http://www.inspectordrake.com. This is a British film, and the copy I was sent was PAL and region 2. So be sure if you order it that you have the capability of playing it in your location with your software or DVD player. If you do, then I can’t recommend this film enough. This is one of the best independent films it’s been my pleasure to review, and I can’t recommend it enough.