Knives Out

Knives Out ★★★

Curiously inert, especially given the cast, most of whom seem to be champing at the bit for some scenery to chew. Unfortunately weird puppets and knives are not innately chewable, so they all just kind of sit there waiting patiently for some big scene that will never come. Really the only performer who was the least bit memorable for me was Jamie Lee Curtis, and not because of anything in particular she did, but because she looks just like an aunt of mine in this.

As far as the leads go, Daniel Craig is fine, but Johnson seemingly never made up his mind whether the character was Sherlock Holmes or Inspector Clouseau, the result being that he's neither very funny, nor an interesting detective. Meanwhile Ana de Armas and her wide, guileless eyes are easy to root for, but she's ultimately far too underwritten to make a compelling protagonist. Her best scene (in which she is quite good) is her scene with Christopher Plummer, i.e. the only scene where she gets to exhibit any kind of personality at all.

Plotwise this is fairly fun, albeit too long considering how generally straightforward it is. I saw most of the twists coming from a ways off (not something I'm usually good at, or even actively try to do), but I have to admit, I kept waiting for Famous Magician Ricky Jay to show up with some insane last second twist after they conspicuously show his picture, but apparently this was just a little tribute they inserted because he was initially cast but then passed away during production.

Still, it's not without its pleasures (dig the Shostakovich-esque score), and has its heart in the right place, even if that right place usually manifests itself through dialogue that sounds like it was written by someone who got their idea of the political landscape from a New Yorker article about Twitter.

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