Sometimes the difference between a genuine ‘whodunnit’ and a spoof is very little. This movie, which is a real treat, tries to plow the middle furrow and do some of both. There’s a real mystery, there’s a death (but is it murder?) and there are laughs and absurdities along the way (not the least of which is Daniel Craig’s Foghorn Leghorn southern drawl. It’s so bad, it’s good.) This movie is one part ‘Murder She Wrote’ and one part Agatha Christie and Daniel Craig falls into the role of a much less rumpled Columbo, though with cigar in hand.
For 130 minutes we are entertained by an all star cast which includes Christopher Plummer, Jamie Lee Curtis, Daniel Craig, Don Johnson, and Chris Evans (though it’s hard to see him as a rogue or a bad guy) and frankly what we see is a family none of us would want to be a part of! It’s a good thing that Mr. Trombley cut them all out of the will…. or did he? And to whom did he really leave everything? Inquiring minds want to know. This movie has numerous twists and turns along the way, and some surprises, and even at the end, we are left with some question marks. We know the butler didn’t do it…. but what about the maid? Or was it just a suicide after all? In this sort of intricate murder mystery one has to pay very close attention to figure out what’s really going on.
It’s been a long time since there has been a mystery movie this much fun AND this ‘mysterious’ and there is no surprise it has a 96% rating on Rotten Tomatoes— only the Grinch who stole Christmas wouldn’t like this movie. If you are looking for what the Italians call a divertimento this holiday season, this film nicely fills the bill. The movie was filmed in Marlborough, Natick, Wellesley, Maynard, Waltham, and Canton Massachusetts. But of course mainly it’s filmed in a genuine Victorian manor house, and as one character says in the film, it all seems like a game of Clue. Go see this film— a good time will be had by all.