From the opening string quartet to the closing theme, ‘Knives Out’ is filled to the brim with cleverly written hilarity. Just when you think it’s going to take you in one direction, it veers off into a direction you did not expect. I even thought I knew who the killer was at one point, but events made it seem impossible. It was that killer by the way, but I was still surprised when the reveal happened. Which is the true testament of just how good the writing and acting is in this movie.
The writing and directing credits here go to Rian Johnson and it’s so refreshing to see this little whodunnit as his follow up to the ‘The Last Jedi’. Johnson has always been a brilliant writer (Looper, Brick) and he has returned to his roots without being phased by the hateful fanboy backlash of the ‘Star Wars’ sequel. Now, with a bigger cast than ever, he has crafted a story akin to the old gumshoe stories of yesteryear and truly knocked it out of the park. This might be the most pure fun you will have at the movies in 2019!
That brilliant cast of actors I mentioned earlier includes Lakeith Stanfield, Christopher Plummer, Toni Collette, Michael Shannon, Jamie Lee Curtis, Chris Evans, and even a show stealing Daniel Craig as the sleuth who always seems to be a step behind. However, it’s Ana de Armas who truly carries the film. You may not have guessed it from the trailer, but she is the heart of the story and she more than holds her own around the big league actors. I won’t be surprised if this movie helps shoot her to the top of the casting charts.
The plot sets itself up in a matter of minutes. A maid is looking for the head of what we discover to be the Thrombey mansion and finds him dead in his study. Harlan Thrombey (Plummer) has clearly had his throat slit, but we don’t know by whom. Enter the detectives, the lying family, and the sneaky private eye. Each member of the family is clearly up to something, and we discover their little feuds with Harlan one by one. Then, the biggest surprise actually happens early in the film and the rest of the movie seems to be an entirely different flick than you thought it was.
Which is really what has always made Rian Johnson’s films so memorable. He writes characters and situations that circumvent our expectations. And by doing so we remember the events that transpire. This may have caused the ‘Star Wars’ fanboys to lost their minds, but it’s the reason why the rest of us keep coming back for more.