Knives Out (2019)
Directed by Rian Johnson
Starring Daniel Craig, Chris Evans, Ana de Armas and Jamie Lee Curtis
Whodunit? Who cares?!
When Murder on the Orient Express arrived in theaters two years ago with its amazing ensemble cast, it looked like the Whodunit genre may be the next big moneymaking Hollywood retread. Unfortunately, the execution of the film fell flat, even with an amazing cast and competent director in Kenneth Branagh. What we needed was a unique take on a stale genre, a genre that hadn’t give us anything new since 2001’s Gosford Park.
Rian Johnson delivered just such a distinct twist on the murder mystery with last year’s Knives Out. Johnson, who’s one of the finest filmmakers working today, skillfully wrote AND directed the film… just like he did with Brick (2005) and Looper (2012). If you liked either of those films, then Knives Out is for you.
Much like his previous films, Johnson’s ensemble cast is chalk full of talent and none more so than Ana de Armas, who ends up being the focal point of a film that is more of a “howdunit” than a “whodunit.” Daniel Craig’s portrayal of Benoit Blanc is the other stand out performance. The character gives the entire film a sense of whimsy and spectacle that, without which, would relegate Knives Out to the unfortunate dark-side of the genre, like James Mangold’s Identity (2003), which relied on the multiple personality serial killer trope that we saw so much of in the early days of the millennium.
I work smart to entice my readers to see good films without giving anything away, so I won’t share too much more. Unfortunately, the trailers for Knives Out are working against me. If you’ve yet to see this excellent film, I recommend skipping the trailers and limiting the reviews you read to this one.
Well acted, shot beautifully with a whimsical touch. Whodunit? Who Cares? With Knives Out, I do!
If fellow whodunnits Gosford Park (2001) and Murder on the Orient Express (2017) are a B and C respectively, then Knives Out is a resounding A!