Boasting an all-star cast, witty dialogue, and twists and turns that redefine the entire structure of a whodunnit, Knives Out is a murder-mystery so good it might just kill you. This is nothing less than the result of top talent working at their A-game to deliver a movie that’s not only meticulously crafted on every front, but simply a boatload of fun that demands to be seen with an audience.
The intrigue of the movie’s central mystery might be what gets you into the theater, but it’s a testament to Knives Out’s stellar storytelling and ensemble cast that the characters are really what keep you glued to the screen. The sheer depth of the cast speaks for itself, yet the real fun here lies in the fact that there are no shortage of performances that feel dialed up to 11, in particular that of Daniel Craig’s. From the moment he starts speaking in his deep Southern drawl that borders on parody, you know you’re in for something totally different than you’ve seen from Craig, and it’s a comedic turn that still manages to ooze a level of swagger in every scene. While it’s Craig’s over-the-top performance as the lead detective that will have you in stitches, this is ultimately Ana de Armas’s movie, and there’s really no question about it. She brings such an immense level of heart to a movie where nearly every character is a total scumbag, and it’s truly a breakout performance that will have you attached to her character throughout the entirety of the story.
I’m obviously going to keep things vague here to avoid spoilers, but the way the movie pulls the rug out from under the audience and structurally subverts a typical whodunnit is really clever. There’s something satisfying about seeing something so clearly a loving homage to traditional Agathie Christie mysteries that still manages to evolve the genre in some unique ways, all while pushing it through a contemporary lens. I wish I could expound further upon the movie’s structure, but all you need to know that it’s an example of risky storytelling that pays off big-time. However, like I said, the real joy of Knives Out is more in seeing the pieces of the puzzle come together than the final piece itself, especially in the scenes with a large number of characters zinging insults at each other.
Knives Out’s marketing has boasted a clear tagline — “a whodunnit like nobody has ever done it” — and the movie more than lives up to the claim. It all feels like nothing less than a flex from Rian Johnson — a big ol’ “look what I can do” piece of entertainment that will have you riveted until its glorious final shot.
“Knives Out” is Ben Watches Things Approved