Knives Out

Knives Out ★★★

57

First and foremost, I want to talk about this film’s Academy Award nominated screenplay. I would describe my relationship with this film, unfortunately, as it’s a film where I love what it’s about, but not so much how it’s about it. The screenplay clearly had a lot of care put into it, and I really do appreciate all of the twists and turns present. I unfortunately can’t talk much about the film without spoiling it, but the point being I can tell that Rian Johnson crafted his film well. The twists are certainly set up well and whatnot. So it’s not so much the pacing or the story structure that I don’t love about Knives Out. It’s instead...well, Johnson also attempts to put some additional themes in it, specifically pertaining to the Thrombey family and how they’re full of pretentious, annoying white people who are all pretty had people. Call it the murder mystery sister to Get Out. But Christ, I really really don’t care for how they’re written. I get the feeling they’re supposed to be annoying, and that can be done well, but so much of Knives Out is just no fun. I really don’t care for the writing of so many of these characters, though there are certainly a few exceptions that are worth pointing out.

Most importantly, I really like the relationship between Christopher Plummer’s Harlan and Ana De Armas’ Marta, his caretaker. Though they don’t have many scenes together, their chemistry is just wonderful, as they constantly bounce sly jokes off of each other. I like them both in general, but they’re at their best when they’re reacting to and working off each other, to the point where the tragedy of what ultimately happens hits so much more. And though I didn’t love him when I first tried to watch Knives Out, I’ve learned to quite like the main detective, Benoit Blanc, played by Daniel Craig. His accent is a bit ridiculous, at least in the context of the entire film, but he’s interesting and funny in equal parts, both whenever he needs to be. I guess my point is that I enjoy the character writing whenever Knives Out isn’t focusing on the main family, though even then there are a few exceptions. The good apples of the Thrombey family, you could say. This is additionally disappointing because I quite like all the actors and actresses playing the family, but almost all of them feel like horrible caricatures thanks to some character writing that is, again, pretty bad. The point being I really do quite like Rian Johnson, especially considering that he’s got a multitude of good ideas that mostly play out well, but so much of it is presented through an excruciating lens of pretentiousness, which wouldn’t be that big of a problem if Knives Out was stronger while taking the auteur in question out of the equation.

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