Knives Out

Knives Out ★★★★

The first act of Knives Out follows the usual Agatha Christie routine of setting up an eccentric detective questioning a bunch of nefarious characters with equally plausible murder motives. The construction of the plot mechanics is also as intricate as the best whodunnits, with turns and twists throughout leading up to an explanation whose fun is positively proportional to its convolution. But Rian Johnson wouldn't be a modern genre aficionado if he wouldn't put a spin on the conventions some of the time: an in-universe genre fan reacting in glee once he realizes he is witness to a real-life happening of his favorite kind of stories or a detective engaging in metaphorical musings bordering on farcical. Most importantly, though, Johnson switches genres for the middle portion to give his film what's often missing in these kind of stories, an actual protagonist to form an emotional bond with. Where typical whodunnits often get lost in an arbitrariness of motives with too many characters, Johnson's focus on a central character as lovable as Marta puts actual, serious weight behind the final resolution.

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