Knives Out

Knives Out ★★★½

Exceptionally written... That's really the big take away.

I kinda forgot that Johnson's writing can be hilarious (in obvious and low-key ways)? And the finale's hindsight exposition dump (Blanc showing the real plot) that we all knew was coming, a trope which over the years has accrued an inherent and substantial amount of eye-rolling from at least me, still manages to be so intricately woven that it actually ended up being intendedly glee-inducing. It's kinda clear that Johnson had this as a screenplay idea for a while.

The class satire finds a nice balance between overbearing (for a genre movie) and punches-pulling. The "self-made man" narrative gets completely demolished (yay!), and everything is revealed to be inheritance (or altruism). But yet the central thrust of Knives Out is broader than socio-political commentary: it's moral. We see that Marta has been saved by her own compassion, selflessness, and inseparable connection to truth. Maybe that's an optimistic story choice, but I can live with that, especially when the movie chooses to retain its bite in other ways.

The only thing that puts a ceiling on this for me is what normally puts a ceiling on murder mysteries: the characters are a little too "chess pieces"-like and the plot always comes across as so innately reverse-engineered, even if the end reveal is pretty damn fun this time around. And I know that's the point with these stories... Ah well. Knives Out is probably the best version of this type of movie, and while I can't adore it, I greatly enjoyed it.

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