“Knives Out:” A Movie Review

“Who has done it?” A question that has been the core of many mystery plots, revolving around iconic characters trying to figure out who committed the crime. The complex story happens nearly everywhere, which gave birth to some of the famous houses, mansions, trains, ships, and boats in movie history, serving as witnesses to who the real perpetrator is, only if it could speak of the horror that happened in its midst.

Yet, that makes it exciting, as the enigma is the ingredient that makes these flicks devilishly entertaining. The catch is that the genre may have been quite “overused,” with many films using the element as its core. Thankfully, a 2019 film broke the norm and revitalized the “Whodunit” genre, giving it a new flavor and approach and making the viewers love playing sleuth again in the suspect-filled murder mysteries. In this post, let’s review “Knives Out,” arguably the greatest Whodunit flick of them all.

“Knives Out” Plot

“Knives Out” has the perfect plot to create a classic whodunit. It all starts with Harlan Thrombey (Christopher Plummer), a world-famous literary writer who earned a fortune through the acclaimed murder-mystery novels he wrote.

While Harley was a man of great distinction, his family is the opposite, being affluent yet a dysfunctional one. There’s his son Walt (Michael Shannon), in charge of running the family’s publishing company, Ransom (Chris Evans), his despicable, terrible son. There is also Linda (Jamie Lee Curtis), a successful entrepreneur but with an awful husband, Richard (Don Johnson). Other members of the family include Joni (Toni Colette), her daughter-in-law, and Meg (Katherine Langford), and Jacob (Jaeden Martell), his two grandkids, which were also of no good character.

Things started when Harley was killed after his 85th birthday. He was found dead and bloodied in his bed, which only his trusted and longtime nurse Marta (Ana de Armas) was aware of. Three men, a private detective (Daniel Craig), and two police detectives (Noah Segan and Lakeith Stanfield), came to find out who the ultimate villain is amidst the family’s complicated mesh of lies and wrongdoings.

“Knives Out” Review

Truth to be told, “Knives Out” perhaps has one of the best ensemble casts for a film. They were not just big-name in the movie industry, but they’re all also adept in their craft. Harlan Thrombey stole the first scenes of the flick, perhaps preparing the viewers’ for more great performances. Daniel Craig pulled it off as Benoit Blanc. His largish ego and thick and heavy Southern drawl were unforgettable, and it’s great to see him do things outside the fringes of James Bond.

Meanwhile, Chris Evans was as impressive, perfectly veering away from being a heroic persona. Yet, perhaps the most notable performance was from Ana de Armas, who was never given a major character before but absolutely nailed the role. Yet, like many other movies brimmed with great actors and actresses, not all may have been given the ample screen time they deserve. Still, all of the cast members delivered. What’s good to note is that the film knew which characters needed more attention rather than achieving equal exposure.

Production and cinematography-wise, the flick did a decent job in keeping the setting and shots at bay in a way that it won’t subdue the performance of its actors or take away the audience from the ongoing mystery. The camera work was superb, turning, swooping, or twisting when needed to keep pace with the story. Lighting was also well-made, allowing the charming New England countryside set up to work even in dimly lit scenes, ensuring that the audience won’t miss any significant tip-offs.

In terms of entertainment, “Knives Out” packs a punch. Despite some humor misfires, it can easily rank as one of the most enjoyable films people have had in years. It’s an expertly crafted masterpiece, allowing people to laugh whilst keeping them at the edge of their seats with the turnout of events. 

Nevertheless, the most commendable thing about the movie is how it made the film more relatable to the events happening in society by tackling modern-day issues and being subversive with them. With smart social commentaries and dialogue perfectly weaved into the exciting narrative, “Knives Out” did what other whodunit films may not have the courage to do, making it an outstanding outlier in the genre.

Final Thoughts

All in all, the movie is an embodiment of how Director Rian Johnson pours his heart, soul, passion and sets his seal on the film he creates. It’s a classic type of movie treated with a modern style, thrown with a competitive ensemble and thrilling narrative, and bestowed with social messages. It then aligns everything smoothly to bring a movie that will leave everyone breathless but highly gratified at the end.