Written and directed by Rian Johnson, Knives Out follows the investigation into the apparent suicide of renowned crime novelist Harlan Thrombey (Christopher Plummer), who is found dead at his estate just after his 85th birthday. When the inquisitive Detective Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) is mysteriously enlisted to investigate, Blanc must sift through a web of red herrings and self-serving lies to uncover the truth behind Harlan’s untimely death. The knives are out amongst Harlan’s dysfunctional family – (Chris Evans, Jamie Lee Curtis, Toni Collette, Don Johnson, Michael Shannon, Katherine Langford, Riki Lindhome, K Callan, and Jaeden Martell) – and loyal staff – (Ana de Armas and Edi Patterson) – to find out the truth.
As director Rian Johnson pays tribute to the mystery mastermind that is Agatha Christie, Knives Out has a very classic ‘whodunnit’ feel to it. There are a host of eccentric and conflicting characters, who are stuck in an extravagantly furnished mansion together, and any one of them could have done it. For a short while, that is. I would have happy for the film to follow a simple murder mystery plotline, but it quickly becomes much more than that.
Impeccably well written with sharp and hilarious dialogue and character chemistries, Knives Out is a wildly entertaining modern twist on a classic genre. Turning the basic structure on its head, it is a cleverly developed thriller that has the perfect dose of mystery, bluffs, and deceptions.
Johnson really is a master of genre. I’ve loved his previous work, and he has created a faultless story and set of characters with this film which really highlight his passion for the craft of film-making.
But the key to any good detective thriller, of course, is a good detective, and Daniel Craig (with his brilliant accent) delivers that exquisitely. The whole ensemble cast has their part to play, though, and each give a brilliant and memorable performance that will have you laughing out loud. I would happily watch another film with the same cast just to get to see more of them.
Knives Out is definitely a film that you will want to revisit frequently, partly because of the remarkable cast, but mostly because it’s a whole lot of fun to watch unravel.