Friday, November 29, 2019

Knives Out

Movie Name: Knives Out
Year of Release: 2019
Director: Rian Johnson
Starring: Daniel Craig, Chris Evans, Ana de Armas, Jamie Lee Curtis, Toni Collette, Don Johnson, Michael Shannon, Lakeith Stanfield, Christopher Plummer, Katherine Langford, Jaeden Martell, Riki Lindhome, Edi Patterson, Frank Oz, K Callan
Genre: Comedy, Crime, Drama
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 7
View Trailer

Synopsis and Review:
The wonderfully talented Rian Johnson is back, after his experience with the "Star Wars" industry/universe, tackling a decidedly smaller feature in scope, but nonetheless an entertaining endeavor. The film follows the story of the family Thrombey, who is largely dominated by the figure of the patriarch, the well known crime/thriller author Harlan Thrombey. After celebrating his 85th birthday with a lavish party, he suddenly appears dead. The family comes together to mourn him, but also to learn of the inheritance and division of assets. Among the mourners are his children, grand-children and also, his caring and loving nurse Marta. However, on top of all of this, the Police is also involved, since even though the death has initially been ruled as a suicide, there's the need to eliminate any possible suspicion of fowl play. The Police comes to the mansion, aided by the well known detective Benoit Blanc, in order to uncover if there was indeed some hidden motif behind Harlan's demise. As they question each of the family members, some secrets, resentments and frustrations emerge, clearly establishing multiple motivations for the offing of the patriarch. 
"Knives Out" is a well done whodunit type of feature, calling to mind some of the adaptations of author Agatha Christie, with sprawling casts and lavish production values, such as Sidney Lumet's "Murder On the Orient Express". Rian Johnson smartly introduces the cast of characters, with just enough insight in order to deftly and with a few broad strokes, showcase their motivations, quirks and possible secrets. In other hands the film could possibly fall into Poirot territory, which in itself wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing, but the director manages to provide enough twists, and embed the film with enough humor, in order to make it distinct and with a personality of its own. The film really manages to elevate itself, thanks to an impeccable cast, particularly Toni Collette, Michael Shannon and Chris Evans, all of whom really steal the show, while on the opposite side of the spectrum, there's a seriously miscast Daniel Craig, as the central detective, whose southern accent seems to come and go at times (it would be fantastic to see someone like Ralph Fiennes tackle a role such as this). The cinematography from Steve Yedlin is impeccable, as is the score from Nathan Johnson. An entertaining suspense film worth watching.