Starring: Daniel Craig, Ana de Armas, Chris Evans
Director: Rian Johnson
Running Time: 130 mins
Knives Out is an American film about a complex mystery that unfolds in the wake of the death of a wealthy literary magnate, as his family gathers to find the truth of what happened, and how they can benefit.
Everybody loves a good whodunnit, the classic story of deceit, lies, mystery and murder that winds and wiggles through countless twists and turns until arriving at a conclusion that you’d never see coming, but still ties up everything that’s come before in brilliantly satisfying fashion.
The thing about Knives Out, though, is that it’s both exactly that, and something completely different. An exhilarating reinvention of a genre as a old as time, Rian Johnson’s whodunnit has all the hallmarks of a delicious murder mystery, but it takes a brilliantly bold approach that surprises, thrills and satisfies in just the same way as a classic whodunnit, and then some.
If you want a good, exciting and most importantly unpredictable murder mystery, then Knives Out is exactly your film. It entices you with the promise of a typical whodunnit, setting up all the players in a big, eerie mansion after a mysterious death, and the countless reasonable motives that could be at the root of the murder.
With such a fantastic ensemble cast that features Daniel Craig, Ana de Armas, Chris Evans, LaKeith Stanfield, Jamie Lee Curtis, Michael Shannon, Toni Collette, Christopher Plummer and even more, there’s no shortage of talent, style or charisma wherever you look with Knives Out.
On top of that, Rian Johnson’s directing abounds with passion and glee for the classic whodunnit genre, lovingly crafting Knives Out into a film that wouldn’t look out of place in an Agatha Christie serial, bringing together opulent costume and production design in gorgeous fashion.
But what really makes Knives Out such a brilliant film is its screenplay – a masterpiece of intricacy, homage and mystery that drags you back and forth through hundreds of theories, motives, interpretations and more on the way to an exhilarating conclusion, pulling off the mystery and unpredictability that makes a great whodunnit in monumental style.
However, it’s not just the fact that Knives Out is a great whodunnit that makes it so much fun to watch, but more so the way in which it subverts your expectations of the classic genre.
Of course, I’ll put no spoilers here, but suffice to say that everything you think you know about a good whodunnit is turned on its head in Knives Out, taking a story that seems like a foregone conclusion and breathing exhilarating new life into it at least three times in the middle of the movie.
As a result, this isn’t just a thrilling mystery, but a thrilling story full stop. With a rollercoaster of a screenplay that will have you laughing your socks off, engrossed in all the characters, and biting your nails on the edge of your seat, Knives Out has all the ingredients of a true classic, and an undeniably entertaining watch from start to finish, and that’s why I’m giving it an 8.6 overall.