Knives Out

Knives Out

Knives Out (Rian Johnson, 2019) 2/10

A boring throwback to the all-star whodunit, this overlong comedy thriller is an ordeal to sit through. An homage to Agatha Christie and the boardgame (and movie) "Clue", the plot has the obligatory dead body in a lavish gothic manor surrounded by a group of suspects and a quirky detective solving the murder â la Hercule Poirot. A famous writer (Christopher Plummer) of mystery novels is found with his throat slit soon after he celebrates his 85th birthday surrounded by his kids (Jamie Lee Curtis, Michael Shannon), the kid in-laws (Don Johnson, Riki Lindhome, Toni Collette), grand kids (Chris Evans, Jaeden Martell, Katherine Langford), an old granny, the housekeeper and the old man's nurse/companion (Ana De Armas). The mysterious detective (Daniel Craig) on the case is a throwback to Columbo (prying and annoying) and Poirot (the accent - here southern which Craig hideously massacres) who gets to reveal, via flashbacks, the solution to the mystery which starts off as a suicide but turns into a murder case as the story progresses but at a snail's pace. The long drawn reveal by the detective seems far too pat with every plot hole conveniently falling into place. The screenplay also fails to provide any serious motivation for all the characters - barring two - of wanting to murder the old man, thus woefully underusing many of the actors and in particular the two (has-been) stars - Curtis and Johnson. The script also plays it safe. Instead of taking on a more vicious tone it unfortunately sticks to what is now an American comedy staple of not wishing to offend anyone. Going by the almost unanimous praise received by critics it is especially disappointing to find zero substance in this film. The cast is clearly having a ball playing these despicable characters but the "fun" barely translates on screen for the viewer. The pace drags and the silly antics begin to grate very quickly. The only interesting aspect of the film is that one now looks forward to seeing Ana De Armas (in total drab mode here) transform into her natural sexy self as the next Bond girl in Craig's last outing as James Bond. One wonders what the actor will do post-Bond because going by his hideous performance here his screen career may well be over like a couple of past Bonds - George Lazenby and Timothy Dalton. Avoid this film like the plague and go watch instead some of the early Christie all-star adaptations, the film "Clue" or Neil Simon's delightful parody " Murder By Death".