Knives Out is a brilliant murder-mystery that understands the importance of attention to detail. A modern whodunit that features an ensemble cast, where everyone serves a purpose and keeps you entertained from start to finish. This film has just about everything you’d expect from a whodunit film while also making it feel fresh for modern audiences. Knives Out is so well made, and it has so many layers to its central mystery that it warrants multiple repeat viewings.
Last Jedi director Rian Johnson has written a film that has a lot to say about wealth, immigration, and class in America in its own hilarious way. Knives Out revolves around the death of Harlan Thrombey, a wealthy crime novelist who is found dead after his 85th birthday. After his shocking death, the remaining Thrombey’s are all considered suspects by experienced detective Benoit Blanc. This crowd-pleasing treat stars Chris Evans, Ana de Armas, Daniel Craig, Jamie Lee Curtis, Toni Collette, Lakeith Stanfield, Katherine Langford, and many others.
Detail to the overall story was in full effect with this film because once everything is revealed, you can easily go back and pinpoint how it adds up perfectly in the end. Johnson’s script is covered in so many tiny details that leave no scene wasted, and there is a payoff for every setup. The family probably could have been developed a little bit better, but the first act does enough to introduce viewers to the Thrombey’s. Adding to that, the script is so clever and witty that even though the family may be slightly underdeveloped they each are memorable in some fashion. Knives Out is ten steps ahead of its audience, and that’s what makes the final moments so rewarding.
Johnson’s direction will keep viewers on the edge of their seats; he captures this film so wonderfully and brings you into this world with such ease. He’s shown his skill in the past with his previous work, and it continues here. Johnson’s ability to effectively manage so many characters at once while still keeping the audience guessing is very impressive. He also takes great pleasure in giving the audience answers only to provide more layers or pull the rug from under viewers of the film. His direction puts the film at a proper pace, which allows time for all of the scenes to matter and serve a purpose in the final twist.
Adding to that, Armas and Craig are the two standout performers from this film. Armas stars as the nurse of the newly deceased novelist, and she does a good job bringing the character to life. Craig stars as Blanc, the highly hilarious detective who Craig clearly enjoyed playing. It’s apparent that he enjoyed playing this character, and he shares the scene with Armas character quite often. Armas is better of the two because she is leading a film that features several notable names, and she does it so well. Her ability to make the audience care about this innocent nurse who is stuck in the middle with this greedy family is wonderful.
Knives Out is another surprisingly good film this year that is very smart, detailed, and well-acted by a fabulous cast. Johnson’s modern homage to classic whodunit films that came before it is an absolute blast, and it will keep audiences guessing. Knives Out social commentary on American society may cause some to lose interest, but the story and the way everything plays out makes up for it because is just so well done.