The Heir Apparent: Largo Winch
Directed by Jérôme Salle
Music Box Films
Opens November 18, Cinema Village
The Heir Apparent: Largo Winch is based on a Belgian comic book originally begun in the 1970s. It must be that the film’s murky, flashback-lashed narrative of jet-setting corporate backstabbing is easier to follow with some knowledge of the source material, otherwise it’s impossible to imagine how anything this convoluted could have already earned a sequel, but it has. When the chairman of international conglomerate the W Group suspiciously drowns in Hong Kong Harbor, the existence of a named successor, secretly adopted son Largo (Tomer Sisley), comes to light, setting all manner of plotting in motion. For this “Pan-Européenne” production, Largo is basically a eurozone sales pitch disguised as a character. (Or was: The film came out in pre-debacle Europe, in 2008.) When introduced, he is on a spiritually questing backpacking trip in Brazil and looking hip, bearded, and granola, but when circumstances demand, he can look trim and naff in business attire for the boardroom. The film’s most amusing moment involves the unmasking of Largo’s rival for the company’s future, unknowingly admitting duplicities in hidden-camera-captured footage. A groaning cliché already, but it’s spoken in French—and everyone at the Hong Kong shareholders meeting gasps in understanding.