Harlan Thrombey, novelist, publisher and charismatic patriarch of a bizarre extended family, has died. Discovered by the young waitress Marta the morning after an imposing birthday party for her 85 years, the excellent corpse has a cut throat but seems to be the result of suicide. The luxurious country villa of Thrombey sees the arrival of two police inspectors, the private investigator Benoit Blanc, and the family members of the wealthy businessman, led by his sons Linda and Walter and his daughter-in-law Joni. With an inheritance that appeals to each of them, and with an investigation that scratches beneath the surface of events, dismay quickly gives way to subterfuge and prejudice.
There is a deep desire for fun at the base of Cena con Delitto, a reinterpretation of an old-fashioned yellow Agatha Christie in which the thread of cheeky enjoyment starts from the marketing of the film, passes through the choral game of an exceptional cast, and comes up to the initial intent of director Rian Johnson.
Shredded by global entertainment machinery for not having gone too safe with his Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi, Johnson finds in Dinner with Crime the opportunity to have fun in a safe and limited way, updating to the present a genre from the demodé spirit like murder mystery.
Teleporting to the past, not to kill himself as in Looper, but to chase the joy of the beginnings that led him to experiment with the rules of the story, Johnson goes to live with profit “in a board of Cluedo” as the rest does good Christopher Plummer, who wants to be at the same time an attentive father and a mischievous narrator, exercising in both cases absolute control over his and others’ history.
What rolls out of the board game box never changes: in this case an isolated villa full of tricks, a crime, a detective and a group of suspects who accuse each other. A Daniel Craig with a sinuous southern accent guides the dances in the great tradition of film investigators who deflate their genius with a little awkwardness, while at his side the normal and without regurgitation sincerity of Ana de Armas is the real protagonist. And if the space given to his character seems to betray the initial promise to put the celebrity and the virtuosity of the rest of the cast at the center of the scene, such is the comment “goal” by Rian Johnson, who pushes away the privilege of old white America in favor of the immigrant family girl.