“Knives Out” is written & directed by Rian Johnson, who also did “Star Wars Episode IX: The Last Jedi”, “Brick” & “Looper”. The film has a star studded cast which include Jamie Lee Curtis, Michael Shannon, Don Johnson, Toni Collette, Chris Evans, Ana de Armas, Jaeden Martell, Kathrine Langford, Christopher Plummer & Daniel Craig. The film made its debut in September of 2019 at the Toronto Film Festival and then got a state side release in November of the same year.
After the head of family and owner of a publishing empire, Harlan Thrombey (Plummer) commits suicide, his big yet eccentric family all gather for his funeral. His eldest daughter and real estate mogul, Linda (Curtis), Walt, (Shannon) son and CEO of the family’s publishing company, his daughter in law, Joni (Collette) who is married to his deceased son Neil. Linda’s husband, Richard (Johnson). Then of course there’s the grandchildren. Ransom (Evans), the arrogant playboy and son of Linda & Richard. Meg (Langford) daughter of Joni & Neil and a current college student, & Jacob (Martell) son of Walt and political activist. Harlan’s nurse, Marta (de Armas) was not present at the funeral but has a close relationship with the family, especially Harlan. The entire family has one thing running their minds and thats Harlan’s Will. However, the family blindsided by the arrival of a Private Investigator, Benoit Blanc (Craig) who suspects foul play and not suicide. The case is opened and now a game of who done it has ensued along with blackmailing, sabotaging & money laundering. The family is under investigation and the P.I. uncovers more than just petty lies and ulterior motivates.
Coming off the major disappointment that was “The Last Jedi”, Rian Johnson rebounds with this film. The film’s star studded cast really delivers and have a great chemistry. Daniel Craig, Ana de Armas & Chris Evans are the standouts and their performances really carry the movie from beginning to end, more so with de Armas & Craig. Lots mystery films have the same setup from “Clue” to “The Hateful Eight” to “The Loft” and everything in between. Clue & The Hateful Eight were fantastic in their murder mysteries while The Loft was a major let down. Knives Out has the same setup but cause the writing and directing stands on its own as a different wrinkle in the old “who done it?” films. Not as entertaining as Clue or as violent & dark as The Hateful Eight but a damn good murder mystery.
Overall, Rian Johnson really comes to his own with this film. All Star casting and acting. The standouts really deliver while the supporting cast holds their as well as the rest of film. Daniel Craig’s performance is a bit over the top but it actually works and that’s saying something. With an over the top performance, 2 outcomes happen. Its good in a bad movie like Raul Julia in the 90’s “Street Fighter” or its the worse aspect in a solid movie like Elizabeth Banks in “Power Rangers”. It has all the makeup of a standard murder mystery but with a different approach and execution, it becomes its own movie and gives a great entry in this specific genre.