Fugitive: The Curious Case of Carlos Ghosn Review – Lackadaisical doc fails to impress

Lackadaisical doc fails to impress

Whilst watching Fugitive: Curious Case of Carlos Ghosn, you may well draw some parallels to AppleTV’s docu-series, The Big Conn. Both shows value style over substance and take an age to get to the good stuff. Unfortunately, they both come up short when it comes to engrossing and gripping entertainment.

That’s not to say there aren’t creative or original elements here; there’s a fourth-wall breaking actor working as Ghosn’s personal assistant and some neat re-enactment scenes that keep things feeling fresh.

Unfortunately, the substance that comes with this documentary takes far too long to get to the crux of the issue, instead spending a good chunk of time with depicting the rise – and not necessarily a lot with the fall – of Carlos Ghosn. In essence, it’s like being on a rollercoaster that goes up for ages and then rewards you with a tiny dip before pulling back into the station again. Sure, there are bits of excitement but it’s not something you’ll return to in a hurry.

Born in Brazil to Lebanese parents, Carlos Ghosn is a man with a pretty interesting history, and an equally endearing ongoing saga too. The man clawed his way up the corporate ladder to the very top of the automobile industry, eventually crowned head of Renault and Nissan simultaneously. On top of the world and quite literally jetting across the globe to keep up appearances, Ghosn’s subsequent rise led to a spectacular downfall.

Suspected of suicides due to malpractice at Renault, while spending a lavish 630,000 euros for his 60th birthday, which was held at the Palace of Versailles and paid for with, allegedly, company money, the man is not without controversy. As one interviewer says, Ghosn’s impact on Japan was like a prostate exam. Sure, it’s healthy and something that’s needed, but it’s also indignant and a complete pain.

Well, the Japanese soon hit back against Ghosn’s lavish lifestyle and subsequently arrested him under allegations of using company money for personal use. Subjected to “hostage justice”, Ghosn attempts to escape.

The story itself sounds pretty incredulous but the last part, in particular the escape, is reserved to the final 10 minutes of the movie like it’s an afterthought. It makes the opening sequence, which makes the escape seem like such a big deal, feel a little misleading. It’s equally noticable because 30 minutes of the 90 minute run-time is almost exclusively dedicated to Ghosn’s rise to the top of Renault and Nissan, before any of the scandals of allegations. Annoyingly though, this is peppered with elements that feel like padding. Did we need a 4 minute section discussing Ghosn’s hair implants?

During Ghosn’s escape, several people were arrested for their involvement too, but yet none of that occurs on-screen, we actually see all of this through expository text at the end and a couple of second-hand news reports. These sort of exclusions given the film much more of a lackadaisical and perfunctory feel than it perhaps deserves, especially given the content of this story.

Stylistically, the documentary is great and there are some neat inclusions but in terms of story beats and narrative power, the Curious Case of Carlos Ghosn is nowhere near as endearing as it could have been.

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  • Verdict - 5.5/10

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