Knives Out

Knives Out ★★★½

Stylistically somewhere between Brick and Ready or Not in all but genre(s), this is a fun ensemble feature with all the positives and negatives that come built into an ensemble feature. There are a handful too many characters used as only punchlines, the plot lines are either a bit basic by design or a bit convoluted and forgotten, and the third act, in a futile attempt to tie up loose ends, runs beyond the point where it was necessary, and loses the audience. It’s funny, it’s chalk full of Grade-A acting, and it keeps you guessing as it twists and turns along, and while those are all good examples of great craftsmanship, a good movie – aka a rewatchable movie – gets drowned out with too many frills and embellishments. If it’d been 90 minutes and not 130, then it would’ve been flawless, but as it stands, its length adds too much space for problems, and problems do arise.

And while I of all people enjoy the themes, they are born out a soft-centralism [Both sides call each other reductive names and refuse to listen to each other! Being rich is fine we just need to replace the nouvelle riche with the right/token nouvelle riche!] and to be frank, if I thought too hard about it, it would’ve taken me out of it in the theater, and definitely dampens it on the car ride home.

As a result, while this is a fun time at the movies when you have nothing else to do – indeed, an Essential Thanksgiving watch – and while I will always appreciate Johnson as a crafty director, I stopped writing one of three final papers for this, and while I enjoyed it, I don’t know if it was worth the distraction.

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