Knives Out

Knives Out ★★★★½

In Knives Out, the death of prolific mystery author Harlan Thrombey produces a clash between the opportunistic members of his family after they find out that his wealth is set to be inherited by his caretaker Marta, an immigrant they all claim to love despite repeatedly mistaking the country she’s from. Caught up in all of this is eccentric private investigator Benoit Blanc, hired by someone suspecting foul play. Each character has their own role to play in this entangled web of mystery and whether any of them had something to do with the death of their patriarch is up to Blanc to figure out.

It’s surprising to see a mystery hold up after you’ve seen it play out for the first time, but Knives Out has all the ingredients to make a classic. From its setting to its distinct characters and the social commentary that’s perfectly interwoven with the plot and their demeanor, no piece of the puzzle is out of place and it’s immensely satisfying to watch them come together.

The film’s biggest star, however, isn’t a character (although Marta and Blanc come pretty close to claiming that title); it’s its atmosphere. Virtually no one loves each other here. Thrombey’s family are a bunch of spoiled unlikeable people stuck in a giant house, all of which have an ulterior motive, and yet Knives Out is nothing but delightful and comforting. With its warm tones and fuzzy sweaters, it practically invites you to lose yourself in its world with a hot cup of tea between your hands. The fact that justice is served in the end seems like an added bonus.

An entertaining and cozy venture into the whodunit genre, Knives Out is one of those movies that are unabashedly likable. It’s smart, but doesn’t make an effort to come off as such. It knows the majority of its characters are garbage and doesn’t try to excuse their behavior, but has fun with it instead. Rian Johnson has crafted a film that oozes fun and whose value proves to lie in so much more than just its puzzling plot.

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