Knives Out

Knives Out ★★

The movie sucks and this review doesn't reflect my thoughts.

2nd film I see at MONFIC 19. Won't be writing for everytime I see like I did for FCIU tho.

Recently we have been getting a lot of mainstream films that provoke through their surface content as well as their subtext discussions on class division and the nature of capitalism, with the prime examples being Parasite and Joker. Knives Out is closer to Bong Joon Ho than Todd Phillips and continues with the trend while also bringing to the table interesting points of discussion, because of how Rian Johnson’s latest whodunit creates an intrinsic relation between the elite’s desires and their apparent politics, implying the idea that the rich are more comfort enacting reactionary viewpoints because of how it allows them to reject any kind of class analysis or introspection about their own fortune.

The family in here, for the most part, believes in conservatism, as it serves as a calming validation of their more primitive fears and desires, and allows them to live in ignorance without having to question anything around them. Not only the desire for more money, which is a given, but also the fear of the other, of the non-white and the foreigner, that since is different to them they can only see as either inferior, primitive or directly a danger to their capital because of how “they are going to take away everything from them”. In the end, is this fear that reveals this family’s true nature not only as intolerant, but also as parasites that are only attached to their relatives as a way of making wealth without having to do anything, as they earn it from the mere blood-connection –and then they can even brag about their efforts and how they are self-made people even though their wealth is mostly inherited-, and as people that would do the most horrible stuff just in order to keep their power or increase it. In reality, the real thieves are not the non-whites as they claim, but the very bourgeoisie who would go as far as to frame the non-whites of crimes they didn’t even commit to keep what they consider is of their own even when it isn’t.

Even putting aside the political commentary –which I wasn’t initially buying into but then proven to be connected to the very heart of the story- this is a hell of a genre homage and formal exercise that, much like Parasite, delivers as a crowd-pleaser that changes the dynamic of its own game every twenty minutes and gives the audience a different way of observing what is unfolding. Rian Johnson perfects his style and succeeds at making something extremely compelling as a traditional whodunit mystery thriller that doesn’t go the directions you would expect at first but that still delivers in everything it promises. Information and the way its revealed is crucial, as the movie plays with it for the sake of thrills and intrigue that increased considering the relation of knowledge between different characters with each other and the characters with the audience, with us many times being on the edge of our seat because we know something that a character we’re following doesn’t and is about to discover something that would make the situation for the protagonist more complicated.

It’s a combination of plot-threads and characters that all together help deliver on the mystery and the engagement of the viewer in the events, as the movie doesn’t lose a single second of its 130 minutes of duration. Everything gets to have major significance for the plot at one point, especially futile elements reveal more than one might think and serve to make us connect the dots of the plot behind this thriller –for example, the reaction of a character to a specific situation that gives us one impression when we first see it but then another after a twist is revealed. It’s easily the most entertaining theater experience I had because of the combination of wild comedy, playful dialogue interactions and diverse twists that subvert expectations but all together create a coherent bigger picture and I’m amazed not only at how entertaining the final product is but how well everything works together. It’s a refined work of passion that comes after two decades of a director mastering his craft and preparing himself to create something as complex in its intricacies while still being accessible to major audiences and not losing anything in the process. I’d gladly see this again when it gets a proper release in two weeks, and I’m telling you this is going to be a movie people will be mad if it doesn’t appear at the Oscars in few months –especially for the original screenplay nomination.

P.D. That cast, damn! Ana de Armas surprised me, both because I wasn't expecting her to be the protagonist and because she delivered an amazing subtle performance that still managed to convey a lot, even if it wasn't as whimsical as the rest. And well, the family could have their own tv show and with their personalities they could easily sustain it effortlessly. Seeing them argue all together, even if in only sparse occations, was an incredible joy.

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