Knives Out (2019)

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The mystery surrounding a patriarch’s death amongst other things threatens to tear a family apart in this riveting film from Rian Johnson.

Renowned author Harlan Thrombey has been found dead the day after celebrating his 85th birthday. It has been deemed a suicide. However, is it really that? A week after Harlan’s death, the entire family is summoned to the family estate as police still have questions. Lieutenant Elliott and Trooper Wagner are in charge of the investigation. However, also at the scene to act as a consultant is renowned detective Benoit Blanc, who finds himself thinking there is more to this case than he expects.

Blanc begins to question Harlan’s family, which include son Walt, daughter Linda and son-in-law Richard, son Walt, daughter-in-law Joni and her daughter Meg, and Richard and Linda’s son Ransom. He also gets Marta, Harlan’s nurse, involved as she is seen as family to the Thrombeys. As Blanc begins to get closer to solving the case, dark secrets within the family slowly begin to be revealed that may or may not exactly be connected to Harlan’s death. Was his death a suicide or was it murder? Blanc intends to find out.

Following the unnecessary backlash from his work on Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Rian Johnson returns with a very well mapped-out mystery film that is only driven by the performances of its stellar ensemble cast. With Christopher Plummer’s Harlan seen mainly in flashbacks as his character of Harlan Thrombey is the one whose case is trying to be solved, Johnson’s script not only drives the characters, but also drives the viewers to join in on the mystery. Because of that, the film feels like an interactive experience as we are engaged in trying to help solve this case.

Daniel Craig is wonderful as the detective Benoit Blanc, complete with Southern drawl accent. From his name, one can assume he is from perhaps New Orleans. As he questions the family, it is as if he gets help from us the viewer to help him decipher the case. The other major kudos in this film goes to without a doubt, Ana de Armas, who gives a rousing performance as Marta, Harlan’s nurse who is seen as his most trusted confidant and best friend. And before you scream “lover”, that’s not true. It is a clear sign of respect between Harlan and Marta as seen in the flashbacks because this is one family who seriously has issues to the point where if it is more than a suicide, anyone can be a suspect.

Jamie Lee Curtis is Linda, a self-made business owner who is also a light sleeper. Don Johnson’s Richard is Linda’s husband who has a very bad skeleton in the closet. Chris Evans is the outspoken Ransom, Richard and Linda’s son who Harlan sees in himself. Michael Shannon is Walt, Harlan’s son who runs the family publishing company and wishes to expand on it. Toni Collette is Joni, Harlan’s daughter-in-law who is an influencer who has a college-age daughter in Katherine Langford’s Meg. With this crazy family, anyone could be involved.

Knives Out is a wonderfully made mystery that not only churns out terrific performances, but also helps the viewer engage in the case as a whole as you will keep on guessing until the very end.

WFG RATING: A

Lionsgate presents a Media Rights Capital production in association with T-Street Films. Director: Rian Johnson. Producers: Ram Bergman and Rian Johnson. Writer: Rian Johnson. Cinematography: Steve Yedlin. Editing: Bob Ducsay

Cast: Daniel Craig, Chris Evans, Ana de Armas, Jamie Lee Curtis, Don Johnson, Michael Shannon, Toni Colette, Katherine Langford, Jaeden Martell, Christopher Plummer, Lakeith Stanfield, Noah Segan, Riki Lindhome, Edi Patterson, Frank Oz, K Callan, M. Emmet Walsh.

 

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