Knives Out (Rian Johnson, US) — Special Presentations

By Meg Shields

Knives Out is a massively fun, if blissfully unsubtle, old-school whodunnit from Star Wars helmer Rian Johnson. The film takes place in a manor presumably built by the same contractor behind Laurence Olivier’s mansion in Sleuth, and revolves around the mysterious death of the Thrombrey family’s patriarch, Harlan (Christopher Plummer). The writing on the wall (as well as the blood splatter) says suicide, but Benoit Blanc, a celebrity detective (Daniel Craig), suspects foul play. And with an unhinged family flush with all manner of motives, there’s plenty to be suspicious of. 
In a veritable sea of ham, Craig is, indisputably, the star of the show. His performance is completely bananas and when Daniel Craig is not on screen everyone should be asking: “Where’s Daniel Craig?” If sequels are in store, I will happily tune in on the merit of Blanc’s southern, Micheal Moriarty-inspired, Sondheim-belting shenanigans.

Dialogue-heavy by design, Knives Out is often so quirk-laden there is little room to catch your breath. There are a few effectively quiet moments with Marta (Ana de Armas), our protagonist and Harlan’s caretaker, that I could have used more of. That said, on the whole, the film’s energy is contagious (though while the political commentary is astute, that Baby Driver reference is going to age like brie on a hot sidewalk). It’s a silly, sleuthy time at the movies, an autumnal caper and a sure-fire crowd-pleaser.

More from the Magazine