After the buzz Netflix created with “The Tiger King,” its latest documentary oddity might involve a different kind of four-legged creature. Like that previous sensation, “Gunther’s Millions” is really about the unusual people featured, but its real-life insights reveal how the gullible media can be caught in a too-good-to-be-true (or too-fun-to-be-true) story – in this case, a German shepherd with a 400 million trust fund.
The story, which is divided into four parts, centers on a dog who lives on a prestigious estate in Florida that once belonged to Madonna, complete with its own staff of 27 full-time employees. As for the money, it is attributed to a German countess who loved the dog and, in the absence of a surviving family, decided to leave him (and his descendants, updated with Roman numerals) in the lap of luxury.
However, it’s pretty clear that Gunther’s guardian, an Italian pharmaceutical heir named Maurizio Mian, has his paws on Gunther’s story (or tail), which over the years has included lavish property purchases and surrounding the dog with a group of five models. , known as the Burgundians, essentially presented as human Ken and Barbie dolls. But what sounds almost like a joke (“Stay Classy, Miami”) has a more chilling aspect, reflecting Mia’s ideal of physical perfection and interest in conducting bizarre social experiments on the elusive nature of happiness.
Before it ends, the series – directed by Aurelien Leturgie – will reveal much about the truth behind Gunther’s millions and the unanswered questions about the when, where and how of his wealth.
Long before that, there are parts of this story that don’t seem to pass the smell test, without knowing it if you watch the news, sprinkled throughout the documentary series—mostly from local TV stations—that fall on hook, line and hook. sink for the lovable human aspect of what can be described as the “richest dog in the world”.
The whimsical nature of the presentation suggests the filmmakers are setting this up as a sort of docu-comedy, right down to the uneasy moments when Mian or one of Gunther’s “employees” won’t answer a question or occasionally asks the filmmakers to turn off the cameras.
Ultimately, though, there is a darker side to “Gunther’s Millions,” which serves at least as much as an indictment of those who lavished Mian and others in the media without pausing to consider the red flags that finally waved in the final two chapters.
In this genre, getting the “weird” tag can be half the battle, and “Gunther’s Millions” certainly qualifies. Still, documentaries actually work on different levels, and while its canine star (currently Gunther VI, by the way) appears to be a good guy, its coverage is proof of how the media can come across dogs in multiple ways.
“Gunther’s Millions” will premiere on Netflix on February 1.