Knives Out

Knives Out ★★★★

Rian Johnson’s murder mystery comedy in which a sleuth examines the demise of a patriarch of an unusual, argumentative family. Starring Daniel Craig, Chris Evans, Ana de Armas and Jamie Lee Curtis.

Rian Johnson’s previous film was Star Wars: The Last Jedi, the eighth entry in the science-fiction franchise which was acclaimed by critics, but audiences were divided by the movie.

Now, the director’s latest film, Knives Out, is one that is being loved by critics and audiences – for a very decent reason as well.

When well-known crime writer Harlan Thrombey (Christopher Plummer) perishes just after his 85th birthday, the nosey and suave Detective Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) enters his estate to examine.

From Harlan's dysfunctional family to his enthusiastic staff, Benoit scrutinises through a mesh of red herrings and egotistic fibs to discover the certainty behind Harlan’s premature death.

Daniel Craig gives an excellent performance in his part as Benoit Blanc, the detective who acts like he is determined to find out who is responsible for murdering Harlan and he won’t give up, no matter how long it takes, but not providing humour along the way. He suits his role very well, definitely makes the most of the time he has on the screen and this is his best performance not playing James Bond.

Elsewhere, there is a very decent performance to be had from Ana de Armas in her part as Marta Cabrera, Harlan’s nurse and caretaker, while Christopher Plummer is respectable as Harlan, the novelist whose part of the story is told in flashback.

Chris Evans and Jamie Lee Curtis both give fine performances in their respective parts as Hugh Ransom Drysdale and Linda Drysdale, two of the suspects involved. Hugh is the spoiled playboy, Harlan’s grandson and Linda’s son, while Linda is the person in charge of her own company, as well as being Harlan’s oldest daughter and Richard’s (Don Johnson) wife.

Keep an eye out for Toni Collette and Michael Shannon in their respective parts as Joni Thrombey and Walt Thrombley. Joni is the widow involved, while Walt is the Chief Executive Officer of his father’s publishing business.

The direction from Johnson is very good because he allows the facial expressions to be seen to a strong and comical effect throughout, while also keeping a pleasant atmosphere happening as well and the script is written to a decent standard by the director as he makes the movie easy to follow.

The camera stands out best in terms of the technical aspects, because it makes good use of the locations and also captures the funny moments well, which get the edge-of-the-seat status.

At the time of writing, the movie got 3 Golden Globe nominations: Best Motion Picture, Best Actor (Daniel Craig) and Best Actress (Ana de Armas) – all in the Musical or Comedy categories.

The only criticism I have would be the pace, as this can be a little slow at times, so, for me, the duration possibly didn’t need to be as long as it was.

Overall, despite the sometimes-slow pace and little too long duration, Knives Out is an enjoyable murder mystery comedy, due to the very good performances in particular from Daniel Craig and Ana de Armas, along with the direction, script, mostly pleasant atmosphere and humour.

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