Saturday, November 30, 2019

Knives Out

Starring: Daniel Craig, Jamie Lee Curtis, Chris Evans, Toni Collette, Ana de Armas
Director: Rian Johnson
Running Time: 2 hours and 10 minutes 

Rating: PG-13

I'm usually weary of movies with all-star casts. For some reason, they tend to disappoint (see 2016's "Mother's Day", 2013's "The Big Wedding" or most movie musicals as a point of reference). But "Knives Out" is one of the most clever, entertaining, keep you guessing 'til the end films I've ever seen. All of the stars killed it (pun intended) and while it does run a bit long, they tie up every single loose end. And there were quite a few to tie up. If you're a fan of murder mysteries and dark comedies, you'll enjoy this fun, Clue-esque flick.

We meet the eccentric Thrombey Family as they're mourning the loss of their patriarch, Harlan (played by the always fantastic Christopher Plummer). Everyone is under the impression that Harlan committed suicide, and everyone also assumes their place in his will. It's only until Detective Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) arrives that anyone suspects foul play, and threads begin to unravel. I loved Daniel Craig in this role. His slow Southern drawl seemingly began as an annoying farce, but I actually became quite fond of this character and his vernacular.

Each family member is interviewed by Detective Blanc and his sidekicks (one of whom is the lovely LaKeith Stanfield) and each one seems to have something to hide. Daughter Linda (Jamie Lee Curtis), son Walt (Michael Shannon), son-in-law Richard (Don Johnson), daughter-in-law Joni (Toni Collette) and grandson Ransom (Chris Evans) become prime suspects. Detective Blanc enlists Harlan's nurse Marta (a stunning performance delivered by Ana de Armas) to help him piece the puzzle together. She suffers from a condition where lying makes her physically ill, so anytime she's questioned, they have a bowl handy for her.

Just when you think you might have a handle on this who-dunnit, the plot swings a different direction. It moves very quickly once it starts approaching its climax. I appreciated this unique, fresh storyline as well as the film work: tight camera angels and contrasting stark and dim lighting added to the element of mystery and reminds you that everyone is a suspect. I highly recommend this entertaining film. You're sure to appreciate this story and its quirky characters. 

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