Knives Out

Knives Out ★★★★

I dug it. Republicans will hate it lol. I told my mom she'd hate it and it led to a delightfully heated conversation that I'm too embarrassed to summarize. RJ basically dresses immigration reform in the clothing of genre and trolls the right for 2 hours. It's a circle jerk for woke leftists but not a very nuanced take. Actually, I'm caricaturizing some of this. First and foremost, this is good old-fashioned entertainment. Plain and simple. It's slickly edited, mightily performed, and has so many wacky reveals that it almost borders into self-parody. Second, it's marketed as a fun modern-day whodunit but it also quickly morphs into this razor-sharp, Scooby-Doo parable on American politics, specifically as it relates to the question of "who will possess a nation?" 

My House | My Rules | My Coffee is a placeholder for all the greed, entitlement and inherited wealth of the American elite, and speaks to the systemic arrogance of what they believe "the right way" is for people to "properly" enter this country. Perhaps children being kept in cages is not a friendly reminder for those who often rely on these buzz words during these discussions. 

RJ's script is clearly on the side of "immigrants get the job done," but that's not to say it's exactly MAGA-bashing either. The Thrombey family isn't filled with "go back to your country" white supremacists per se, they're more in the neoliberal vein of the Armitage's from GET OUT (2017). They seem nice and polite, and they think they're being nice and polite to Marta, but they're really only using her as a prop to hide their micro-aggressive claim on what they believe is their "ancestral home." Those who identify with the Thrombey's, or who often feel threatened by outsiders attempting to stake a claim on the American Dream, may not even realize the meta-colonialist quackery of the position, which makes the humor quite fun.

Everyone in the family is an obvious suspect to the murder at play, but I think RJ means this as less of a diatribe towards a specific class or faction and more as an inward, "Lord, is it I?" kind of posture. We’re all potential suspects. We’re all part of a corrupt system needing to ask ourselves how we contribute to the mess.

I mean, the Thrombey's aren't exactly politically homogenous, they're made up of progressive-reading-types as well as alt-right-conservatives, and then you have Marta in the middle as the caretaker of both sides, and RJ behind it all asking, "Where do you fit in this family?" It's a good, honest, clean question, one that I never felt was over-preachy or particularly berating. The script is a little too over-written in areas, the twists are expectedly ridiculous, but by and large it's the banger that everyone's been saying it is. 

Also, I know this would've been extremely dumb and on-the-nose, but I honestly thought for the briefest of moments we were gonna get a Kentucky-fried satire of an ending, with the Thrombey's positioned in downstairs outer darkness looking up at upstairs-Marta dressed as the Statue of Liberty, torch and all. I know, totally stupid. It would’ve been awful. But I honestly wanted this SNL-ending so bad just so I could laugh my ass off.


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