$400 million dog! Human breeding experiment! Madonna’s house!
Netflix must hope its latest documentary series, Gunthers Millions, will attract hordes seeking lewd sensations, much like streamer Tiger King did in 2020.
But while this tight four-chapter show shares some of the hit show’s animalistic DNA, it turns into a pretty moving study of manic-depressive illness and an imaginative/paranoid long-term quest for a cure. Elegance can be inspirational. Well, that and greed.
Director Aurelien Leturgie interviewed and executive produced with Emily Dumay (“The Amazing Race”). They become more interested in psychology than psychosis as the story unfolds in front of a subtly ruthless camera and sensitive but thorough questions. The filmmakers claim to have discovered the depth beneath the surface of the silly narrative at the same time as the audience. What’s on screen tends to back it up. Decades of local television and tabloid coverage fill the series, but the coverage has been superficial. It may resemble a cheap documentary trick of withholding information to allow the soap opera to progress, but what Leturgie and Dumay do here leads to a kind of truth.
As the public narrative has done, the Gunther family is of purebred German Shepherd lineage, and the grieving Countess Carlotta Liebenstein left her a sizeable fortune. The family of wealthy Italian pharmaceutical maker Maurizio Mian was also close to Liebenstein and her suicidal son, Gunther. Maurizio, who was the same age as the human Gunther and was reportedly his best friend, was put in control of the dog Gunther’s money and could basically spend it as he pleased, as long as he was somehow involved in caring for the dog. is allowed.
Naturally, Pooch needed a yacht, a mansion in Miami (one of Madonna’s former mansions) and Tuscany, and a personal chef to cook a steak. In particular, Mian thought she should hire a different group of attractive young people to live with Gunther.
“This is becoming a bit too master race for me,” one of the Miami casting agents who helped fill the villa with beautiful bodies realized after a while.
But such a sinister possibility has, ironically, disappeared because of human nature (that super-hot sex can be an afterthought when real friendships develop). who knew?). The more disturbing parts of the story, including the abuse of puppy mills and the Byzantine tax evasion scheme, could have been considered better in the series. Who wants to know more about such things when he entrusts her with the Pisa football team?
The disheveled and sad bag Mian, who doesn’t like to smile, might not be considered by everyone to be the leading authority on hedonistic research. I have. Mian has made an extraordinary effort to remedy something that has plagued him his entire life. He’s moody, co-conspirator, manipulative, pathetic, and scientific, but he really isn’t. He’s like Hugh Hefner with an Italian soul, perhaps with more going on inside.
I encourage you to revisit “Gunther’s Millions” to find some overlooked clues in interviews with Mian and his entourage of co-workers and lovers. Every slow-mo shot of the prancing shepherd is sure to look more like an insertion or a fake-out on repeat viewings, too. A vague retelling can likewise vary from poor dramatization to representation of the mental mystery being played out.
There’s nothing that makes “Gunther’s Millions” quite lofty. The series indulges in the conventions of the obscene genre, teaching us that money can’t buy happiness while people are drooling trying to do just that. We reach a point of promise of peace, if not redemption.
He’ll probably have to pay a lot for it, but for this kind of thing, it feels like a gift.
“Gunther’s Millions”: documentary. Starring Maurizio Mian, Gunther VI and others. Directed by Aurélien Letourgui. (TV-MA. His four episodes of 45 minutes.) English and Italian with English subtitles. Available to stream on Netflix starting Wednesday, February 1st.