Screened at Cannes on Friday, Keith Allen’s documentary about the British royal family, Unlawful Killing, will likely fail to find the popular reception accorded to The Queen, The King’s Speech, and Will and Kate’s wedding.
After all, the self-proclaimed “antidote to The King’s Speech,” is a documentary that, as per The Associated Press, “claims Britain’s royals are racist ‘gangsters in tiaras’ and Prince Philip is a womanizing psychopath.” In other words, you won’t find any royals protecting deer, rallying the masses to fight Nazis, or saying “I do.”
Three years in the making, the Mohamed Al Fayed-financed Unlawful Killing asserts that Princess Diana and Al Fayed’s son Dodi were killed by the British secret service. According to Al Fayed, the British political establishment (that includes the royals) were horrified that Diana was romantically involved with a Muslim. Diana herself believed that her husband, Prince Charles, was planning her “accidental” death in a car crash. [Check out Unlawful Killing trailer below.]
An inquest held ten years after the 1997 deadly crash inside a Paris tunnel reached the (official) conclusion that there had been no conspiracy or cover-up. Diana’s driver, Henri Paul, who also died in the crash, was blamed for being drunk; also to blame were the pursuing paparazzi. No one was ever brought to trial.
Best known for his work in front of the camera (e.g., Shallow Grave, Trainspotting, The Others), Allen says he “didn’t want to make a sensationalist film,” though some may disagree: Unlawful Killing shows a post-crash picture of Diana inside the Mercedes that, as per the film’s press release, has never before been published anywhere.
Ironically, Unlawful Killing will likely be banned in the UK for legal reasons. The film’s lawyers recommended 87 cuts that Allen refused to make.
In the film’s press release, Allen is thus quoted:
Screening this film in Cannes for the world’s media will be both exhilarating and terrifying for me. As far back as 2004, I had been intrigued by Mohammed Al Fayed’s unrelenting determination to seek answers to the questions surrounding the death of his son, Dodi and Princess Diana. By going ‘undercover’ at the inquest, I hoped to reconcile some of my own suspicions too- but what I experienced was horrifying. This film is, in short, the inquest of the inquest.
Locomotive Distribution is handling worldwide sales efforts for Unlawful Killing.