Tony's Take

KNIVES OUT review

I Suspect Foul Play

When famous author and millionaire Harlan Thrombey (Christopher Plummer) dies mysteriously the night of his 85th birthday party, his family is left in a state of shock.  Upon discovery of his body, his death is ruled a suicide and the family is left in disbelief.  After the funeral, Detective Lt. Elliott (LaKeith Stanfield) and Trooper Wagner (Noah Segan) begin interviewing various members of the family so they can close the file of Harlan’s demise.  It becomes increasingly apparent that Linda (Jamie Lee Curtis), Richard (Don Johnson), Joni (Toni Collette), Walt (Michael Shannon), and other members of the Thrombey family may have their own motives to harm Harlan, but that none possess the evil ability to do so.  During the process, famous sleuth Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) reveals his attention was mysteriously captured by the case and he won’t stop until the truth is uncovered; and as he tells the family: he suspects foul play and has eliminated no suspects.  Using Harlan’s Nurse Marta (Ana de Armas) as a confidant, Benoit using his renowned skills and knowledge to untangle the twisted web of lies and deception.

Rian Johnson brings us a wholly-original spin on a familiar tale in “Knives Out”; which is downright hilarious, thrilling, and will keep you guessing until the very end.  The cast he assembled for his venture into the sleuth genre is impeccable, including the likes of Plummer, de Armas, Craig, Lee Curtis, Stanfield, Shannon, Johnson,  Collette, Chris Evans, Edi Patterson, Katherine Langford, Jaeden Martell, and Frank OZ just to name a few.  Craig is wildly-captivating with his southern drawl and facial expression and Evans nails the cocky, outrageous persona of his character, but it’s Ana de Armas who steals the show; as she continues to prove she is dynamic force.  The method Johnson used to tell the story of “Knives Out” is precise and irregular, but it fits the film so perfectly.  With the majority of the film taking place inside and around Harlan’s mansion, it was of vital importance that the set design was perfect; and it truly was.  The knife chair is stunning and original, while the various parts of the house reflect some of the aspects of his novels.

Perhaps most impressive, the twists and turns of “Knives Out” are constant and unpredictable.  As soon as you think you’ve figured it out, bam!  A brand new character arc comes forward and you find yourself back at the starting line.  Not only is the film unpredictable, but is truly is multi-layered as well.  Johnson expertly tests the audience’s mental capacity and attentiveness as previous dialog comes back into play; and I can only imagine there is more to unpack upon additional viewings.  While devouring the story and the wicked, hilarious ensemble of characters and the hi jinks that ensue, the film flies as its 130 minutes is barely felt and leaves you thoroughly entertained from start-to-finish.  Rian Johnson’s expertly-crafted “Knives Out” will assuredly be one of my Top 10 favorite films of 2019!  I truly cannot recommend this film enough!

“Knives Out” is a deliciously-fun, wickedly-entertaining “whodunit” and one of the most enjoyable cinematic experiences of the year!

 5/5

KNIVES OUT is rated PG-13 for thematic elements including brief violence, some strong language, sexual references, and drug material, in theaters NOVEMBER 27TH!