Fugitive: The Curious Case Of Carlos Ghosn review

Carlos Ghosn in Netlfix documentary Fugitive: The Curious Case Of Carlos Ghosn
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We take a look at documentary Fugitive: The Curious Case Of Carlos Ghosn – the newest addition to Netflix’s cornucopia of true-crime content.

Remember in 2019, when that global businessman turned up at a Lebanese airport in a box? No? A lot’s happened since then, to be fair, but it was weird. After all, Carlos Ghosn was, for a while, functionally the CEO of two of the largest car manufacturers on the planet, so why was he smuggling himself out of Japan in a cello case? There must be a tale to tell there, right?

That’s the story behind Netflix’s latest addition to the true-crime content cornucopia, Fugitive: The Curious Case Of Carlos Ghosn, an interesting concept which unfortunately never quite escapes the confines of its luggage-based prison.

That’s because, airline-baffling escapade aside, much of Ghosn’s tale doesn’t feel like much we haven’t seen before. A high-flying businessman in the early 2000s, the Lebanese-born mogul was placed in charge of a strategic alliance between Renault and Nissan, following his success at reversing the financial decline of the former (by firing lots of people, mostly). A ruthlessly efficient CEO, many of the documentary’s interviewees speak of him with a great deal of reverence as the filmmakers chart his first few years transforming the Nissan brand.

But as we all know, power corrupts, and absolute power… Well, let’s just say it isn’t long before Ghosn is hosting himself €600,000 birthday parties at the Palace of Versailles and buying company villas in lovely spots across the Mediterranean. Cue some more dodgy dealings and allegations of very complicated-sounding financial crimes and, hey presto, that’s why he escaped the Japanese police in an instrument box.

The problems aren’t so much in the telling of the tale—Lucy Blakstad directs with a confident eye on the true-crime formula, and the various talking heads do give a good sense of Ghosn’s personality—but in the events themselves. Though the odd eyebrow-raising factoid does emerge out of the talk of business arrangements and car marketing, there doesn’t seem to be much in Ghosn’s exploits to fill a 90-minute documentary, and the pacing (ironically for a film about fast cars) tends a bit on the slow side.

For big fans of true-crime, there’s certainly moments to enjoy here, and perhaps those with a more intimate knowledge of corporate espionage will get more out of some baggy explanations of financial wrongdoing. For everyone else, though, this is one escape story that thinks firmly within the box.

Fugitive: The Curious Case Of Carlos Ghosn is streaming now on Netflix.

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