‘Knives Out’ (2019) Spoiler Free Review

For Rian Johnson’s fifth film and follow up to The Last Jedi he decided to go the murder mystery  route. A real whodunnit in the vein of classic Agatha Christie, but modernized. And like any good mystery movie, he puts together a stellar cast. One that keeps you guessing and questioning their motives throughout the film. The set up of the film is a pretty basic one. It involves the heirs and heiresses to the fortune of the great mystery novelist Harlan Thrombey (Christopher Plummer). Who is found dead on the eve of his 85th birthday. Each relative we meet seems to be harmless on the surface, but as their stories unravel you realize each one is worse than the last and to no surprise they are all leeching off the family patriarch.

First up is Harlan’s oldest daughter, Linda (Jamie Lee Curtis), the self-made businesswoman who got started on a small loan (from her father) of $1 million and her husband Richard (Don Johnson). Then there’s Walt (Michael Shannon), the son who runs his father’s publishing company, and Joni (Toni Collette), the daughter-in-law of a deceased Thrombey and skin care guru / Instagram influencer. Each one brings to the table their own baggage and children to boot. Joni’s daughter Meg (Katherine Langford), the fortunate recipient of having her tuition paid for by her grandfather. Jacob (Jaeden Martell), son of Walt and racist sociopath. And last but not least Ransom (Chris Evans), the black sheep who skips the funeral only to arrive early for the reading of the will.
The rest of the cast is rounded out by the police and household staff. Starting with Lieutenant Elliott (Lakeith Stanfield), the straight laced detective just looking to close the case. Teamed with Trooper Wagner (Noah Segan), obvious Thrombey fan-boy. Working together with the help of Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig), the southern drawled independent crime solver similar to Sherlock Holmes or Agatha Christie’s Poirot. He has been mysteriously hired by someone to solve the crime. And at the heart of it all is Marta (Ana de Armas), Harlan’s caregiver and confidante, who knows the deceased better than any of his family members.
Overall the film is witty, fun and you can tell that the cast is a blast playing the obliviously rich. The film also doesn’t shy away about poking jabs at the current presidency. Each actor really tries to steal the scene when on screen making things extremely enjoyable to watch. Daniel Craig really digs in with his southern accent as he works his way through the levels of deceit. Christopher Plummer shines as the head of the family. He just seems to be having a great time with everyone he’s on screen with. Noah Segan and his comedic relief play really well off of Craig and Stanfield. And then there is Chris Evans, who drops his Captain America goody two shoes persona like it never happened. And while all of the characters seem like caricatures of real people, each one feels like they are having fun making the movie. Which is a great draw and really lets you sit back and enjoy it all.

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Author: K. Alvarez

A king without a throne.