Shadow Billionaire (2009)
DHL Founder and billionaire Larry Hillblom seemed to have vanished into thin air when he failed to return from a routine flight in his vintage Seabee over the Pacific. After his disappearance, a dark side of Larry emerged. Even before he was officially declared dead, bar girls throughout Southeast Asia came forward claiming to have had children by Larry and seeking a piece of his vast fortune. BILLIONAIRE unravels the secretive and scandalous life of this enigmatic and reclusive tycoon. The
battle over his estate took on epic proportions, pitting impoverished, teenage prostitutes against Larry's former business associates and several of the largest law firms in the world. In the end it is a David and Goliath story, as a surprising hero emerges to untangle the web and discover the startling truth.
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Critic Reviews for Shadow Billionaire
Once the conspiracies start, especially with Hillblom's tendency to, uh, cross-pollinate with young Asian girls, Shadow Billionaire becomes intensely involving.
Shadow Billionaire sports many twists and turns, with the intrigue and insight of top-tier journalism.
Audience Reviews for Shadow Billionaire
Based on the enigmatic life and convoluted probate proceedings of his death, Shadow Billionaire is a rather fascinating insight in to DHL founder and billionaire, Larry Hillblom. Hillblom is painted as a brilliant, yet deeply flawed man, whose penchant for young Asian prostitutes became especially visible after his death in an unexplained plane crash (his body was never found).
The bulk of the documentary is aimed at the immensely complicated and quite extraordinary circumstances of the probate proceedings. We meet the women who claimed to have children by Larry, and we are shown the mechanizations and schemes of the big-time lawyers who had a vested interest in maintaining the money in a trust they control. What follows is a world of intrigue and conspiracy, when mainland lawyers lie, cheat, and cover-up to defraud the rightful heirs of Larry's estate, illegitimate children. The film is very successful in this regard, taking us through the proceedings briskly and in an engaging way, supported by a host of charismatic individuals, such as David Lujan, the lawyer for Larry's son. The film entreats us to both the mysterious man, and the relentlessly ruthless friends and associates who stopped at nothing to control the money. In this way, the film is both an effective character study, and an intriguing recounting of events.
If Shadow Billionaire has a fault, it would be its failure to more fully examine the lives of the children themselves, especially post settlement. This seems to paint a very interesting picture of Larry, and the film would have been better served to follow that.
An overall very strong documentary.
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