My Rating – 4 out of 5
Starring Daniel Craig, this is a thrilling whodunit which is gripping, engaging and pacy.
It’s a fitting tribute to mysteries of the Agatha Christie genre, down to the fact that a Private Investigator is called upon to solve a crime, or is it? An obvious difference from those stories then and stories in the twenty first century is the availability of tonnes of technology, which the likes of Sherlock Holmes and Hercule Poirot couldn’t even have imagined. While that makes crime thrillers of today slightly easier to solve if the crimes were of the standards prevalent in the eighteenth century. But, unfortunately, along with the investigative agencies of today, criminals have also upped their game and now conveniently avoid leaving DNA, duck in front of CCTV cameras or deactivate them ahead of time and collect their bullet casings to avoid ballistic detection. Well, rest assured, this has taken care of those angles well enough to give the viewers a feel of what hard nosed investigations can be like.
Director Rian Johnson, a self-admitted fan of Agatha Christie gives you the feel of a true blue murder mystery, at least to those of us who’ve grown up on a steady diet of Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot and, of course, Sherlock Holmes. The intelligence of the investigator is the foremost skill on display here along with logical deductions and reasoning with shrewd thought threads. The surprise or twist at the end is actually surprising because all along you are fed with the theory that all involved have the motive, opportunity and capability to have committed the murder!
Summary of Knives Out
The movie is set in a New England mansion belonging to writer Harlan Thrombey (Christopher Plummer) who celebrates his 85th birthday with his entire family in attendance, and is then found dead in his attic study.
Did he commit suicide by slitting his throat or did any of his family members (a ridiculously loony bunch, mostly) help him on his way? After all, he spent the evening “putting things in order” and “cleaning house”!
Rian, sketches the individual characters brilliantly here – the privilege laden grandson Ransom (Chris Evans), his grovelling son Walt (Michael Shannon), his roving eye son-in-law Richard (Don Johnson), a sneaky widowed daughter-in-law Joni (an over-the-top Toni Collette) and eldest daughter Linda (Jamie Lee Curtis, in a blistering avatar) – all of them seem to have the motive but did they do it?
Only Harlan’s caregiver Marta (Ana De Armas) seems to be innocent, especially with her habit of puking-if-she-lies! But does she know more than she’s willing to tell? What about Great Nana Wanetta (K. Callan)? What did she see on that fateful night?
In comes the Private Eye Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) – the one with a jarring southern US accent – smoking his cigars and asking insensitive questions? Who hired him and why?
The story is taut, with hilarious one liners lining the script. It plays out around Harlan’s funeral, then will reading and then even a car chase! But does Blanc finally get his man, or woman?
I’ll say no more….
Conclusion of Movie Review of Knives Out
If you love old-fashioned crime thrillers and detective novels, you are gonna love this. Well directed and acted by all involved, this never lets up and before you realize the climax is on you in a jiffy!