When it comes to murder mysteries, I haven’t run into many that I’ve overall liked in the last few years, most falling into the category of one and done viewings. Thank God for Rian Johnson using his writing and directorial talents to Knives Out, a silly, stabby, brilliant whodunit.
This review is spoiler-free.
A detective (Daniel Craig) is brought in to investigate the death of a patriarch (Christopher Plummer) of a combative and eccentric family.
Movies with a starry cast of who’s who in Hollywood always seem like an event for audiences. When we watch the behind the scenes clips, it looks like summer camp for the actors, just with paychecks. And this movie is filled to the brim with all-stars. The only downfall to me is that there was not enough room for each actor to fully flex their muscle in the 2 hour, 11 minute run time.
The cast includes: Christopher Plummer as Harlan Thrombey, wildly successful murder-mystery writer and family patriarch, whose untimely demise happens on his 85th birthday triggers all the events that follows; his tightly-wound eldest daughter and her husband, Linda and Richard (Jamie Lee Curtis and Don Johnson), and their entitled, wayward son, Ransom (Chris Evans); brooding middle son (Michael Shannon), who helps run the family business, lifestyle guru Joni (Toni Collette) and her co-ed daughter, Meg (13 Reasons Why Katherine Langford) and Harlan’s faithful nurse-companion Marta (Ana de Armas).
And that’s just the family!
Sorry to Bother You’s Lakeith Stanfield is a low-key local police detective and Daniel Craig is the fancy private investigator brought in under special circumstances to lead the investigation. His Kentucky-style accent is straight-up hilarious, but it is amazing to see him break down the mystery all the way to the end. He sees things others don’t, not ruling this and open-and-shut case.
The script, also written by Johnson (Star Wars: The Last Jedi) affectionately teases classic murder mystery tropes while also sliding in modern-day jokes that made some of the audience lightly laugh.
Some of the cast members rise to the top of this ensemble: Evans is hilariously smarmy as the trust-fund kid who is floats above his family and Craig seems to be having more fun with his Colonel Sanders gentleman detective and the gentleman spy he’s played as Bond over the last few years (His final 007 performance, No Time To Die, set for an April 2020 release).
This isn’t a big spoiler to say that you need to keep an eye on the lovely Ana de Armas (Blade Runner 2049) as her wide-eyes companion nurse who maintains a sweetly compassionate presence throughout, despite the gleeful digs the script took at her family origins.
The identity of the who in the mystery, when it comes, might be corny but satisfying, too; calling to the classic wrap-ups of the genre. But you can’t ask me. You’ll have to join the Thrombeys to find out yourself.
Thanks for reading, everyone!
What are your thoughts about Knives Out? Do you like a good mystery that keeps you guessing until the end? Need a Daniel Craig fix before his last Bond adventure?
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