Knives Out – USA, 2019 – reviews

‘Everyone has a motive. No one has a clue.’

If the trailer below is anything to go by, murder mystery Knives Out from writer-director Rian Johnson (Brick, Looper, The Last Jedi) looks to be a fun whodunit in the style of Agatha Christie.

The movie stars Daniel Craig, Chris Evans, Ana De Armas, Jamie Lee Curtis, Toni Collette, Don Johnson, Michael Shannon, LaKeith Stanfield, Katherine Langford, Noah Segan, Edi Patterson, Riki Lindhome, Jaeden Martell, and Christopher Plummer.

Plot:

When renowned crime novelist Harlan Thrombey (Christopher Plummer) is found dead at his estate just after his 85th birthday, the inquisitive and debonair Detective Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) is mysteriously enlisted to investigate.

From Harlan’s dysfunctional family to his devoted staff, Blanc sifts through a web of red herrings and self-serving lies to uncover the truth behind Harlan’s untimely death…

Reviews:

…Knives Out isn’t just deviously intelligent but also consistently gut-busting, and an impeccably crafted blast of Hollywood entertainment, built around several exceptional (and juicily venomous) performances. It also turns out to be as timely as it timeless, nestling a surprisingly pointed story of class conflict at the center of the investigation…” A.A. Dowd, AV Club

“It feels very of the moment, and effortlessly so […] Johnson’s devious script jigsaw puzzled together from pop culture references and homages is only bolstered by an excellent cast used smartly and sparingly, all building towards the most singularly entertaining film of the year so far.” Kambole Campbell, Birth. Movies. Death.

“Ultimately, while Knives Out is thematically rich, technically astounding, and superbly acted, it’s also just a complete and total blast of a movie […] one of the most purely satisfying and enjoyable moviegoing experiences I’ve had in recent memory.” Adam Chitwood, Collider

“There’s genuinely thrilling ingenuity here and while some of his attempts to give the film a contemporary, Trump’s America spin are a little too clunky, other similar touches work so well that you’re willing to forget them.” Benjamin Lee, The Guardian

” …ingeniously plotted, tremendously entertaining and deviously irreverent crowd-pleaser […] A delicious throwback to the all-star whodunit, this juicy comedy thriller is a treat from start to finish…” David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter

“A crackling, devious, and hugely satisfying old-school whodunnit with a modern twist […] Even if you do somehow manage to piece the whole thing together in advance, there’s no way of predicting the joy of watching it all unfold.” David Ehrlich, IndieWire

Knives Out is a classic whodunit, and doesn’t mind who knows it; a character observes at one point that the victim “practically lived in a Clue board.” But its finesse, style, and very modern concerns keep it feeling perfectly fresh, while its attention to detail invites rewatching and rethinking.” Angie Han, Mashable

“There’s so much to love about Johnson’s triumph, both as gratuitously enjoyable entertainment and the first film to take on the significance of a President Trump without lapsing into corny preachiness, and so little of it can be discussed here. Just suffice it to say that the genre maestro has his audience in good hands…” Charles Bramesco, The Playlist

“When it’s actually over (and my God does Johnson stick the landing with one of the best final shots of the year) you’ll unpack its ingenuity like a detective yourself, marveling at not just how the details of what happened that night revealed themselves, but the social message embedded in all of it.” Brian Tallerico, RogerEbert.com

” …its energy is infectious, particularly as the film becomes more and more animated as it nears the truth of Harlan’s final night. The actors’ hammy performances only compound the amusement of watching a dynasty propped up by largesse fall to pieces at the very thought of actually having to earn their way in life.” Jake Cole, Slant magazine

“Director Rian Johnson has an oxygen problem. He sometimes leaves too little air in his highly lacquered, dialogue-heavy film contraptions for his characters to breathe […] Knives Out, Johnson’s flashing, painfully clever Agatha Christie–inspired whodunit, is never less than a good time, often a deliriously fun one.” Joshua Rothkopf, Time Out

“Johnson tweaks the usual structure of drawing-room murder mysteries to deliver something a bit hipper and more subversive. The gambit works quite well, and Knives Out surprises as much as it satisfies our desire for the traditional way of things.” Richard Lawson, Vanity Fair

Knives Out recalls a time when audiences could still be surprised by such mysteries before the genre devolved into a corny parody of itself. Johnson keeps us guessing, which is good, but the thing that makes this a better mousetrap than most isn’t the complexity, but the fact he’s managed to rig it without the usual cheese.” PeterDebruge, Variety

Release:

Lionsgate will release Knives Out theatrically on November 27, 2019.

 

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