Knives Out

Knives Out ★★★★

If Rian Johnson's The Last Jedi is an example of how not to "subvert" expectations, then Knives Out can be considered the antithesis.

A modern take on the traditional murder-mystery format, while maintaining the feel and atmosphere of a bygone era; Knives Out is much like a period piece, and when in the confines of the house (our main setting) is quite easy to forget as being set in modern day. While it pays homage to a number of well known classics of the genre, the film is more in keeping with an Agatha Christie romp than anything, with Daniel Craig as a sort of contemporary Poirot. It's not as straightforward as all that though, the film often playing us with its direction, both in terms of genre and narrative. Rian has stated that he took influence from Hitchcock for this, and I think said influence is very apparent in terms of how some of the film is structured; "bomb under the table" and all that.

I am not a fan of the mystery genre at all - it's just not my thing, but I really enjoyed this. Having seen Rian's Looper and The Last Jedi, both of which felt overwritten and bloated, I was expecting any enjoyment here to be marred by similar issues. The reality is that this is probably the most satisfying film I've seen at the cinema in a good while. Did I love it? Well, "Love" is a strong word, so not necessarily (I'm a tough cookie, and as I said, not my preferred genre), but frankly, I can't pick holes at this stage. It was suprising, and consistently proved to me that whatever incompetence Rian has displayed previously as a writer, he can in fact write, and write well at that. Knives Out is tight, original, clever, witty (but not overly humorous...), and just an all round good watch.

Truly refreshing.

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