Netflix’s Polish Murder-Mystery ‘Inheritance’ Is A Funny Whodunit With A Satisfying Climax

By Jonathon Wilson
Published: June 20, 2024
Inheritance (2024) Review and Ending Explained
Inheritance | Image via Netflix




Part Knives Out and part Game Night, Inheritance is a more comedic take on a well-worn murder-mystery format.

Knives Out has a lot to answer for. Imitators of Rian Johnson’s whodunnit haven’t exactly been few and far between over the last few years, but Inheritance (2024), a Polish effort streaming on Netflix, is executed well enough to feel like a reasonable enough version – even if it lacks a little edge and has a somewhat perfunctory — though admittedly quite satisfying — ending.

Otherwise known as Spadek, Inheritance evokes Knives Out most obviously, but that’s far from the only influence. You’ll recognize the DNA of everything from film and TV to board and parlor games. The overall effect is familiar. A bunch of eccentrics gather together in a single location, one of them dies, and the others have to work out – along with the audience – who the killer is.

Sylwester Jakimow’s film adds a somewhat novel puzzle box element to proceedings, which gives Inheritance a slightly more distinct vibe than you might expect. But it’s still adhering to a well-worn template all the same, and it provides the usual genre pleasures capably enough to be enjoyable but not so well that you’ll recall much of the film after it’s over.

A Familiar Setup

Anyway, plot. The Fortuna family is a dysfunctional clan of weirdos who reunite at the behest of their millionaire relative, Wladyslaw, who’s happy to gift his considerable assets to the winner of a complex game that is really a sneaky bonding exercise.

Things take a turn when Wladyslaw winds up dead, presumably murdered by one of his family, and the suspects all have to play along to unlock the Fortuna fortune while being trapped in a snowstorm and investigated by the police.

I’m glad there are no eccentric inventor game show hosts in my family, is all I’m saying.

As is typical in this kind of thing, there’s a big ensemble, all embodying characters with their own specific quirks and interpersonal conflicts with their relatives. These things are all unfurled throughout at a respectable clip, with circumstances nudging characters in just the right direction to get the most out of their little oddities.

The usual suspects are here, from a naïve school teacher and sulky teenagers to the catfishing niece and not one but two characters named Karol. Everyone wants to win, and is ready to do whatever is necessary to achieve victory – hollow though it might ultimately be.

Inheritance (2024) Leans Into Slapstick

I mentioned the game gimmick earlier, but what really sets Inheritance apart is its humor, which escalates into gonzo slapstick pretty quickly and stays in that mode virtually throughout. It gives the movie more of a Game Night sensibility than that of a straight-up murder mystery, which is a welcome deviation, even if the humor – at least for me – doesn’t always land.

It all builds to a climax in which the truth is revealed and lessons are learned, as is to be expected, really. What more do you want from this kind of thing? Inheritance isn’t trying to deliver a new experience, but instead deliver a very familiar one in a slightly different way. And really, that’s what 90% of movies are doing.

Let’s Talk About The Ending

The ending of Inheritance answers some of the big questions and allows the characters to arrive at some important realizations. Let’s unpack, shall we?

Caution: Major spoilers from this point on!

Who killed Wladyslaw and why?

As it turns out Wladyslaw was accidentally stabbed to death by Gustaw, his niece’s boyfriend. Gustaw thought he was wearing his bulletproof shirt (it’s a long story.)

Wladyslaw and Gustaw have a history. Wlad used to run a game show on which Gustaw’s grandmother was once a contestant. She was misled and eventually tried to commit suicide after losing, leading to Gustaw being sent to an orphanage. He had gotten close to Natalie as part of a scheme to avenge his grandmother but decided against murder after falling in love. Wlad’s death was an accident.

The Fortuna Family Don’t Find the Patents – But They Do Get A Little Closer

Wlad’s game has a pretty significant prize – his patents, which are worth a fortune. However, since he didn’t actually intend to die, he also didn’t intend to give the patents away. So, after dealing with a couple of fake cops — who are really Wlad’s rivals trying to steal his work — and navigating a final maze, the Fortuna family discovers that the box is empty.

Given how much closer everyone has gotten thanks to the experience, nobody minds too much that the whole thing was pretty much just a joke.

However, the ending of Inheritance shows Henryk finally solving the Rubik’s cube that Wlad had given him earlier. It pops open, and inside is a hidden USB drive, presumably containing the patents.

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