Knives Out (2019)

Knives Out
Director: Rian Johnson
Writer: Rian Johnson
Cast: Ana de Armas, Daniel Craig, Chris Evans, Jamie Lee Curtis, Michael Shannon, Don Johnson, Toni Collette, LaKeith Stanfield, Christopher Plummer, Katherine Langford, Jaeden Martell, Riki Lindhome, Edi Patterson, Frank Oz, K Callan, Noah Segan
Seen on: 8.1.2020

Famous author Harlan Thrombey (Christopher Plummer) has died, leaving behind an eccentric family, a lot of money and a police investigation into his death. Just before it is officially declared a suicide, detective Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) joins the investigation to make sure that everything is as everybody thinks it is. As he interviews the entire family, including Harlan’s nurse Marta Cabrera (Ana de Armas), there is no telling what he will uncover. But it’s probably nothing good.

Knives Out was an amazingly entertaining film that managed to breathe some new life into a genre that has been well-established for many, many years (and it’s not even a genre that I personally love a lot). I had the best of times.

The film poster showing all of the main characters standing in a group.

Knives Out is the rare film that manages to be both a satire of and an hommage to a particular genre, in this case Agatha-Christie-style private detective fiction. As such, it manages to be an engaging crime case that keeps you guessing with every new revelation, and a great comedy at the same time that pokes some (loving) fun at the often very convoluted plots and the unlikely deductions made.

There is also a very cutting social critique here (that is not a usual staple of the genre, I’d say) that I appreciated a lot: the rich Thombeys’ privileges are clearly contrasted with Marta’s more difficult situation. And the way that even the nicest of the Thrombeys are able to turn on her in a second just goes to show that you really cannot trust rich people’s benevolence. The more or less subtle racism that is a part of everything was also well done.

Detective Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) talking while Marta Cabrera (Ana de Armas) sits in the background.

The movie looks great (not only the cinematography, but that freaking set!), the pacing is spot-on and the script finds just the right balance between strange affectations and sharp-eyed characterizations that the former stay funny and don’t weaken the latter. And it’s generally just amazingly funny – that donut metaphor alone had me crying with laughter.

Combined with that great ensemble cast (with Chris Evans seeming to have the most fun in a for him atypical role), there is really nothing else you have to do but lean back and enjoy. So you should do just that.

Ransom Drysdale (Chris Evans) smiling to himself.

Summarizing: Fantastic.

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