Knives Out (15) 130 Minutes
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle taught readers an incredibly significant lesson: never dismiss even the smallest of details, and oh what gospel this has been for authors. Across the years, there appears to have been a sort of ten commandments established for crime writers. Some follow the rules (picked up from novel to novel), evolving, or in most cases, copying nifty little tricks to wow an audience, springing surprises here and there.
The most prominent of such techniques is a tough one to crack. Some love it, some fear it. Some succeed, others fail. It’s known as ‘the twist’. Many have tried, but this time round it’s Rian Johnson’s turn. But after such a strange and (personally) unjustified period of criticism for his go at Star Wars, how does the director fare in this contemporary murder mystery?
Celebrated crime novelist Harlan Thrombery (Christopher Plummer) is found dead on the eve of his 85th birthday. Given his complicated relationship with family, police inspectors find themselves faced with a multitude of potential suspects.
Aware of the complications in such an investigation, renowned private eye Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) is called in to eye up the suspicious Thrombery’s and unearth all their deadly secrets.
As a film, Knives Out is incredibly entertaining. There is a real intrigue cemented into the story of this family, made up of brilliantly quirky characters like the uptight Linda (Jaime Lee Curtis), underappreciated Walt (Michael “kneel before Zod” Shannon), spiritual obsessive Joni (Toni Collette) and, most vitally, Harlan’s carer and friend Marta (Ana De Armas).
The whole cast are brilliant, no doubt. But accents do drift at times, particularly in the case of the outgoing Mr. Bond. It’s as softly distracting as a CGI Robert Di Niro in The Irishman. You don’t want to notice it, but you just can’t help it.
Script wise, the text is filled with brilliant quip’s. Hilarity is just as rife as suspicion. There are some real edge of seat moments, constructed wonderfully by Rian’s intricate storytelling. When it comes down to the twists and turns, does he smash it? Almost. Once again, it can’t be denied that there’s some clever plot development in there, but sometimes what seems like a loaded gun can end up being full of blanks.
Entertaining, witty and impressively written. But exhilarating? Perhaps not.