Knives Out

Knives Out ★★★★½

A wickedly brilliant, hilariously contemporary, stylishly made and written modern classic. Gripping from the first frame of the imposing mansion—and a beautifully eerie orchestral score blaring over its audience—to the masterful final shot that is deeply cathartic in ways I’d never have expected. This is pure entertainment, elevated by shockingly well-sketched characters portrayed by a set of delightful actors, all bolstered by a script so head-spinningly clever, tight and sharp that by the end you are left in awe of the craft. Johnson surrounds himself with an astonishingly talented ensemble cast, who execute his vision with masterful precision.

Johnson uses a deft hand in both setting up and pulling off the twists in Knives Out, laying the foundation for them long before viewers even see them coming. Astute audiences, especially those that revel in solving a murder mystery plot before the characters on screen, will pick up on the clues, but Johnson uses their expectations against them to keep even those viewers guessing. In a film with plenty of colorful characters, Craig's debonair detective Benoit "Benny" Blanc is a hilariously energetic scene-stealer—a walking cliche of a character whose ever other sentence is a one-line—, even as De Armas' Marta is the beating heart of the entire story, often leaving me speechless (especially during her scenes with Plummer, who at age 89 gives a spectacularly refreshing performance). She gives the surprise knock-out performance of the year for me.

Simply put, every aspect of Knives Out—from Johnson's directing and Craig's southern drawl to the satisfyingly chilling score and intricately detailed set design—comes together to form this lush, captivating murder mystery. It manages to combine the campy fun of Clue with a new and carefully crafted mystery, plus infuse some commentary about everything from detective stories to modern American politics, all while allowing Johnson's filmmaking voice to shine through. In the end, Knives Out is a wickedly fun contemporary masterpiece.

Added to: [2019] – What I’ve Seen – [Ranked]

Block or Report

Milo liked these reviews