And then there were none…except for one last film of period drama month. This week brings us a family of ritzy one percenters, a disputed inheritance, and…murder? That’s right–not only is this film a period drama, but also an Agatha Christie murder mystery. And yes, that does rhyme.
The granddaughter of a recently deceased businessman hires her former lover to investigate the circumstances surrounding his…murder?
After the death of the family patriarch Aristide, the Leonides family is in mourning but not overly troubled. Everyone, that is, except for granddaughter Sophia. Suspecting he was poisoned with his own glaucoma treatment, Sophia hires former lover Charles, now a private investigator. Charles initially dismisses her request to find out the truth about her grandfather’s death, but his lingering feelings for Sophia and detective’s determination quickly change his mind.
In order to learn what happened, Charles will need to cozy up to the family…and they are a quirky bunch indeed. Good thing he was also a spy posing as a diplomat in Cairo, which is a relevant detail for some reason…?
An appropriately fierce Glenn Close plays Aristide’s sister-in-law from his first marriage, and is engaged in hunting down moles with a shotgun when she makes her first appearance.
Meanwhile, a rather glam pseudo-goth Gillian Anderson is a dramatic former actress who mostly lounges around drinking.
Aristide’s sons are constantly at odds over disputes surrounding the family business. The younger son is convinced that Aristide’s much younger wife Brenda is responsible for his father’s murder.
The only staff still around the house are the cook and the nanny, who cares for youngest grandchild Josephine. Fancying herself something of a detective, Josephine observes the family and takes careful notes of their activity.
Brenda’s scandalous past as a Vegas showgirl makes her suspect to the family, while Brenda herself appears to deeply mourn Aristide’s death and resents the family’s mooching. She does confess to giving Aristide the injection that killed him, though she believed it to be his daily dose of insulin.
As Sophia and Charles become close again, Charles begins to uncover the family’s dirt, including the deceased. Aristide was apparently a piece of work, overlooking his first son in favor of his second, controlling his grandchildren’s lives, and sort of generally being a manipulative dickbag.
In a shocking twist, Charles learns that Arisitde’s final will was never signed; therefore, the next of kin, aka Brenda, is set to inherit everything.
When the nanny turns up dead, finding the killer takes on a new sense of urgency. After twists and turns aplenty, Charles believes he’s finally unraveled the truth–but is it too late?
3/5 Pink Panther Heads
I’m obsessed with Glenn and Gillian in this film, but, like most of the actors here, they are extremely underutilized. They don’t really get a lot to do, and our focus here is on Charles, who is pretty fucking boring, honestly. Admittedly, I kind of checked out whenever we got the scandalous details of his sordid past (lol), but I’m still not totally sure why everyone kept talking about him being a spy; I really expected this plot point to tie in better with the rest of the story.
I don’t know what it was about this film, but there was something about it that felt more like a parody of an Agatha Christie novel rather than the real thing. And maybe because of the cynical times we live in, I suspected the murderer almost immediately and the reveal didn’t have the shock factor it was meant to.
However, the moments we do get from the phenomenal cast are great, and the costuming is to die for. Literally.