Saturday, December 7, 2019

Knives Out, 2019 - ★★★★

Rian Johnson brings back the murder mystery whodunnit genre with this enjoyable yarn about a powerful man and his extended family. Coming off the heels of The Last Jedi, Johnson gives us a clever twist on the "Clue" mystery-thriller staring a long list of celebrities I won't fully mention here. The stars that shine brightest are Christopher Plummer (Harlon Thrombey - patriarch of the family) Daniel Craig (as the Southern twanged detective Blanc), Ana de Armas (Marta Cabrera - Harlon's nurse) and Captain America himself (Chris Evans as Thrombey's grandson Ransom). I won't give any spoilers away to whodunnit, but the mystery goes on throughout the film and the best part of this movie is watching Daniel Craig try to solve the case. This is one of his best performances of his career and his southern mannerisms are spot-on and hilarious at times. Basically everything he says in this movie is worth a chuckle and you can't take your eyes off him when he's on-screen even in background scenes.

It's interesting to contrast this film with the recent success of Succession on HBO. There's a lot of similar dynamics here but Succession manages to fully paint the family members, adding depth that can't be duplicated in a two-hour film. Most all the cast here is excellent while a few key actors are under utilized (Toni Collette and Jaime Lee Curtis in particular).

This isn't a perfect film and there are parts that drag. I wish the mystery was played out a bit differently too, but Craig alone powers this movie to a high rating. de Armas is really clever and engaging here and shows us so much more than she brought to the table in Blade Runner 2049. This is definitely worth seeing and you'll have fun watching this play out. It'll be interesting to see where Johnson goes from here.

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