Yesterday Netflix released the second in the series of whodunits featuring Daniel Craig as the brilliant detective Benoit Blanc, playing him with a caricatured Southern accent, vaguely reminiscent of Peter Sellers’ outrageous French accent as Inspector Clouseau. The writer snd director Rian Johnston is a self-admitted devotee of the Agatha Christie-style murder mystery novel and he clearly brings that sensibility to his films. The first one Knives Out (2019) followed the classic form of the genre, taking place in the large country home of a wealthy person, so that the suspects are limited to being few in number.
The second takes the same form except that location is more exotic, the luxurious home on the private Greek island of a billionaire tech entrepreneur who invites a group of his friends and collaborators for a weekend to take part in a murder mystery game. During the event, old animosities surface because of the arrival of the billionaire’s former collaborator who claims that he cheated her by stealing the idea that made him rich, and that the others colluded with him.
The film is highly enjoyable. Even though it lasts 2 hours and 20 minutes, I did not feel the time passing at all. There are interesting plot twists thrown in to keep one’s interest but the main appeal is in the characters and the snappy dialogue. As a bonus, it is funny and avoids gratuitous violence, The film also contains many cameos by well-known people. The story is supposedly based on the Agatha Christie novel A Murder is Announced though that story takes place in an English village and features the mousy Miss Marple as the detective. I had read that story decades ago but could not remember the plot. I took the book out of the library but refrained from starting it until today, after I saw the film.
What was particularly amusing was that the billionaire character Miles Bron seems to be a brutal portrayal of Elon Musk. Even though the film was made well before Musk’s recent shenanigans that have invited widespread scorn and ridicule and made many question his grandiose self-promotion of his abilities, it seems remarkably prescient. This review lays out all the similarities, and the astonishment of many viewers at how it accurately predicted how Musk would be viewed today, though be warned that the article contains spoilers. Here is a bit that is pertinent.
Miles Bron presents himself as tech boy-genius. The kind of guy who calls himself a visionary and talks about the power of disruption. But it’s a veneer, all sizzle and no steak. The dude simply steals ideas and bullies the people below him. He’s a billionaire who’s convinced he knows everything while hardly knowing anything at all.
Here’s the trailer.