Knives Out

Knives Out ★★★★

“I spoke in the car about the hole at the center of this donut. And yes, what you and Harlan did that fateful night seems at first glance to fill that hole perfectly. A donut hole in the donut's hole. But we must look a little closer. And when we do, we see that the donut hole has a hole in its center - it is not a donut hole at all, but a smaller donut with its own hole, and our donut is not a hole at all.”

This is a fun and entertaining murder mystery, with a little dash of political subtext. Don’t go in expecting grand sociopolitical commentary (go in ignorant, like me, haha), and I think you’ll enjoy how these little elements were added. First and foremost, the focus of the film is on the unraveling of a mystery, which director Rian Johnson does in a skillful way. The pace is great and it’s a strong cast, even if the film doesn’t really allow any of them to stand out too much. Personally I loved seeing Ana de Armas, Jamie Lee Curtis, and Michael Shannon amidst all the many others (Daniel Craig and his southern accent notwithstanding). The house and its furnishings are gorgeous, and the dialogue is sharply drawn. Despite having lots of characters and motivations, it finds a balance between immersing us gradually enough where we can keep track of who’s who, and keeping things lively.

As for the subtext, it’s easy to think that the children and grandchildren of this wealthy mystery author stand for all wealthy Americans born with silver spoons in their mouths, but it may go further than that: they may stand for all Americans who feel a sense of entitlement to their birthright, and who have been spoiled by the fortunate situation they were born into. In other words, don’t think that it’s necessarily just a critique of the 1%. Regardless, I loved the different forms this took in the characters, and how in the end, even the more liberal or cool ones were out for themselves. It was also nice that through Don Johnson’s character, we hear the other side of the argument, e.g. make immigrants do it legally, even if it’s one I disagree with, since the process for immigrating legally is also under such attack. Whoops, I’ve veered off-topic for a film review, haven’t I? Or maybe this is right on topic. Anyway, see the film if you’re in the mood for something fun, it’s a good one.

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