Casts: Jamie Lee Curtis;
Tomatometers: 8,4 of 10 Stars;
resume: When renowned crime novelist Harlan Thrombey (Christopher Plummer) is found dead at his estate just after his 85th birthday, the inquisitive and debonair Detective Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) is mysteriously enlisted to investigate. From Harlan's dysfunctional family to his devoted staff, Blanc sifts through a web of red herrings and self-serving lies to uncover the truth behind Harlan's untimely death
Rian Johnson’s always been a strangely divisive filmmaker, and for the life of me I can’t understand why. Not just The Last Jedi either (though that’s the most obvious signifier of this) but I remember Looper getting pretty heavily criticised by IMDB users back in 2012 (check the top rated reviews- a lot of the highest ranked ones are still incredibly negative.
Knives Out, however, is much more likely to be a crowdpleaser. It’s incredibly entertaining and very breezy and accessible, and I don’t say that as a negative. Not every film has to challenge or provoke or depress its audience to be considered great. though that being said, I can’t help but feel like there’s something missing here that stops it from being a GREAT movie. It’s frustrating because I can’t put my finger on why, but then at a point I remember all the things this movie does have going for it, and it ultimately doesn’t matter that my gut’s telling me it’s an 8/10 rather than a 9 or a 10.
Right off the bat, well, right from the poster, it’s pretty clear to see how fantastic this cast is, and I’m happy to say everyone gives a good performance here. It’s hard to pick a standout, besides perhaps picking the characters who end up having more screen-time than others (and honestly, in a way that’d almost be a spoiler for a movie like this.
I was similarly impressed by how this movie managed to be very funny without feeling silly or like an outright spoof of mystery/whodunnit movies. It presents a multi-layered mystery that’s easy to take seriously, yet never really gets too bogged down or overly gloomy. The humour’s there and it almost always lands, but for me never really distracted or seemed out of place, and I think it’s the sign of a truly great screenplay if it’s able to balance varied emotions and provoke different responses from its audience. It’s going to get compared a lot to Clue (1985) and maybe also Murder By Death (1976) though I’d say Knives Out is better than those on account of being just as funny without being farcical to the point of not being able to be taken seriously.
Honestly, ignore my fairly petty suggestion that this movie’s missing something, because to be frank I’m trying to do the same. Sit back, let the movie do its thing, and enjoy yourself. Coming up to awards season, with lots of serious movies vying for the attention of critics and awards-givers, sometimes a movie like Knives Out is exactly what audiences may find themselves needing.