The film begins with a narration from a man named Alfred Rott (Tim Spall) before travelling back to the year 1221. The film then returns to the present day in Malta, 2021. Alfred Rott (aka the Narrator) is a skilled architect who has been hired to work on a concert hall. After delivering the latest plans to his client, the client indicates they require further discussion. But when further discussions are had, his clients advise Alfred that his latest sketches seem to have sexual connotations and his ideas cannot be used. Naturally, Alfred is not impressed when he receives the news and defends himself using blunt and direct wording.
After having his most recent work rejected, Alfred attends a party and receives a personal invitation to visit a mysterious person who goes by the name of The Grand Duke (played by Peter Stormare). Upon meeting, Alfred is given an opportunity unlike anything else in his whole life. Alfred is tasked to rebuild a mausoleum. But the task will not be so easy to complete; it’s not long until chaos occurs within the city. Despite the chaos, Alfred is determined to complete the task and is invested in this opportunity.
The Grand Duke of Corsica is best described as a comedy, but the film does carry dramatic moments. As a comedy, I found the film’s style of humour to be a major hit and miss as some jokes simply try to shock audiences. The same can be said about the level of crudeness, unnecessary sex scenes, and attempted toilet humour. Alfred’s bluntness is another way that humour is delivered. The dramatic elements are introduced when Alfred is drawn towards the task of completing the mausoleum. He develops a passion for the new challenge and creates a new friendship with the Grand Duke himself.
As far as plot, make no mistake, The Grand Duke of Corsica is not only a slow-paced film, but it also contains many moments that are certainly odd and bizarre. There are many scenes throughout the film where I honestly didn’t understand their relevance to the plot or their meaning. Even after an hour’s duration, I honestly felt stumped by elements of this feature. I found the attempted jokes here are not funny, and while key plot points certainly held my curiosity, I can’t deny that I felt bored at times. Performances by our leads are fine, but I generally had no reason to care about or invest myself in the characters until the finale.
Overall, given the leading cast and concept, I was fairly baffled by the end of this film. While the core of the plot held my investment and curiosity, the film has many issues. Some of these include generally finding the leading characters unlikeable, failed attempted jokes and sexual references that feel unnecessary. This plot is downright quirky, odd, and bizarre. I’m confident there’s an audience out there who will admire such creativity and quirkiness. Still, sadly this film didn’t quite work for me, and I found it both uninteresting and forgettable.