Rob Reviews "Knives Out"
We have talked on our show on a number of occasions about how much of a fan of the mystery genre I am. These types of films kind of took a back seat for a long time, but I am hopeful that last year’s “Murder on the Orient Express” has breathed some life in the whodunit, and it looks like the ball is starting to roll again with Rian Johnson’s first film since “The Last Jedi” (which I also liked, for the record) with “Knives Out”.
Christopher Plummer plays Harlan Thrombey, an eighty-five-year-old very successful mystery novelist who appears to have committed suicide the night of his birthday. With a number of family members that can benefit from his demise as well as those in his employ (and at least one of them qualifies in both categories), investigator Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) is brought in by a mysterious benefactor to ensure whether or not fair play was involved. The more he looks into the events leading up to Harlan’s death, the more things don’t seem to make sense, and everyone is a suspect.
Let’s start with this cast, which includes Jamie Lee Curtis, Don Johnson, Chris Evans, Michael Shannon, “Garfunkel and Oats” own Riki Lindhome, Jaeden Martell, Toni Collette, Katherine Langford, Frank Oz (in person), Ana de Armas, and LaKeith Stanfield, and this thing is chock full of star power who ALL deliver, and if they are having a fraction of the fun that appears on the screen, I guarantee they all want to do it all over again.
And all the star power in the world can’t help if the script is weak, but trust me: “Knives Out” does NOT have that problem. This story has all of the layers and elements necessary to qualify it as a modern classic of the mystery genre. Johnson is no stranger to this as he is the guy responsible for the critically acclaimed “Brick” in 2005, and his love for it shows here. I was fascinated that the story was able to get to its two-hour-and-thirteen-minute run time without feeling like any fat needed to be trimmed, with me asking that question at more than one point. Each scene does what it is supposed to, and all of the missing information along the way is filled in by the time the credits roll. There are even a couple of VERY subtle things Johnson puts in that if enough attention is paid, will give a couple of the clues necessary to try to get to the solution before Blanc does.
I would love to watch “Knives Out” again, whether it is to pick up anything I missed the first time or to do so with a couple of people that have not yet seen it to see what they can figure out and when. With “Death on the Nile” on the docket for 2020, I am hoping this is a sign of things to come to breathe some new life into the cinematic landscape!