One of the great whodunnits, Knives Out has a whip-smart script, a stellar cast and a delicious tongue-in-cheek humour.
When wealthy crime novelist Harlan Thrombey (Christopher Plummer) dies at his estate, the police begin probing. But someone mysteriously also engages debonair Detective Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) to investigate. The cops and Blanc begin questioning the Thrombey family and staff. But they soon find that not one suspect – and they’re all suspects – has a story that even begins to clear their name.
Fortunately, Blanc has a secret weapon in Marta (Ana de Armas), the late patriarch’s caregiver (and possibly the last person to see him alive). She’s a doe-eyed innocent, beloved by all. A young woman incapable of telling a lie, she proves a useful, if conflicted, ally. Blanc sifts through a web of red herrings and self-serving lies to uncover the truth behind the old man’s untimely death.
I loved every morsel of Knives Out as the Agatha Christie-like mystery deepened. You’ll never look at Daniel Craig the same way again, as he adopts a decidedly Southern drawl in the role of the famous PI who can solve the unsolvable. Some may find the transformation jarring. I, on the other hand, greatly appreciated the casting against type. Speaking of that, Chris Evans – a.k.a. Captain America – trades his superhero status for that of family black sheep. Ana de Armas – who will soon star with Craig again in the next Bond movie – is convincing as the kind-hearted carer.
This is the sort of film that I’d gladly watch again because it has so much going on.
I spoke of the quality of the cast. They include Jamie Lee Curtis, Michael Shannon, Don Johnson and Toni Collette.
Rian Johnson (Looper) has written and directed a winner. Knives Out is brim-full of surprises and delights, and a heap of fun.
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Alex First is a Melbourne based journalist and communications specialist. He contributes to The Blurb on film and theatre.