Justin Payne’s review published on Letterboxd:
My score for, Knives Out is a 9.6 out of 10.
It’s a donut hole inside of a donut hole, that’s inside of a donut hole with a hole in it.
1) Enjoyable or Thought Provoking - 10
2) Cinematography/Sound - 10
3) Acting - 9
4) Story - 9
5) Rewatch ability - 10
As someone who grew up on Murder She Wrote and Matlock, I love a good murder mystery. I love it even better when I don’t know for sure who the killer is until the reveal is laid out in dramatic call back fashion. Knives Out by the brilliant Rian Johnson lays out a near perfect murder mystery giving you just enough reason to suspect everyone of the amazing cast in this film. I’ve loved Daniel Craig since I discovered him in Casino Royale, but it was his character in Logan Lucky that showed me his range. Daniel takes it to a whole other level as Detective Benoit Blanc. The tongue in cheek southern drawl is perfectly played in a comedic murder mystery. I’ve known of Ana de Armas for awhile now through clips I’ve seen of her role from Knock Knock. This is the first time I’ve gotten to experience her on screen, and she is amazing. I did not know it was Ana until I saw the credits role. She completely disappeared into her role of caregiver/nurse to Christopher Plummer’s patriarch character Harlan Thrombrey, who is our victim the story revolves around. Rian can write humor, and craft it into a film very well. Throughout out the film the way the family continuously takes subtle, and not so subtle jabs at each other had me laugh out loud numerous times. I loved how the film worked in references to other murder mystery shows and movies. There’s a line about the home being a real life Clue board that was hilarious. A refreshing thing about this film is it is very viewable for a wide age range. The murder itself is handle in a way to not be over gory, and while there is some cursing it is used sparely. The dialogue is very well written in a way that cursing is not needed. The final reveal when it is being laid out by Detective Benoit is done so beautifully that there’s a few times where they get you to go ok, that’s what happened, but then they add in another twist. I loved the way reveal and the film itself continues to build throughout its entirety.
The film never feels to long, but it doesn’t feel the right length either. There’s just a couple of moments where I’m guessing he was intending for the film to breath, but it lost its momentum instead. Toni Collette’s character as the daughter in law to Harlan is the only character that didn’t really work for me. I think she was trying to come off as a gold digging character, but to me came off more as a desperate moron.
The murder mystery genre is not served no where near as well as it should be. I hope this film does very well, and people love it as much as I do, that way hopefully we’ll see a trend of very good murder mystery films to follow in the next few years. I highly recommend seeing this film, and if you can more than once. I know I want to go back and see what clues I missed.