Director: Rian Johnson
Starring: Daniel Craig, Chris Evans, Ana de Armas, Jamie Lee Curtis, Michael Shannon, Don Johnson, Toni Collette, Lakeith Stanfield, Katherine Langford, Jaeden Martell, Christopher Plummer
Run Time: 130 mins
Knives Out is a murder mystery film from director Rian Johnson. This film has always seemed like an interesting premise and with the risks Johnson took on Star Wars: The Last Jedi, this film looked like a Pandora’s box of ideas for him to explore in a different genre. Unfortunately, the result is a film that thinks it’s more intelligent than it actually is and I struggle to understand why the response to this film has been so positive.
Much in the same fashion as Looper and The Last Jedi were for the sci-fi genre, Knives Out is Johnson’s deconstruction of the murder mystery. He has assembled a tremendous cast of suspects, with Daniel Craig as Detective Benoit Blanc who is tasked with investigating the sudden death of wealthy murder mystery novelist Harlan Thrombey. It quickly transpires that within Thrombey’s family and circle of individuals, there are many people who would have a reason to commit foul play. These include suspects such as Jamie Lee Curtis, Michael Shannon, Chris Evans and Toni Collette to name but a few of the star-studded cast. Rising Blade Runner 2049 star Ana de Armas is the clear standout as Harlan’s nurse of unknown Latin origin. Her character is well-layered and she pretty much carries the film.
The first half of Knives Out is pretty good and the characters are reasonably well established. The film is tonally quirky and Johnson succeeds in balancing comedy within the more morbid, darker moments. Johnson then takes a bold risk early on which is pretty refreshing but then it’s never really expanded on in the second half. The second half is frustrating and I lost interest in what was going to happen. The final twist towards the end of the film is also rather obvious. Ultimately, there are some interesting ideas in Knives Out but the overarching narrative is rather messy, resulting in a rather disappointing film. The first half and the performance of Ana de Armas are Knives Out‘s bright spots.