A detective investigates the death of a patriarch of an eccentric, combative family.A detective investigates the death of a patriarch of an eccentric, combative family.A detective investigates the death of a patriarch of an eccentric, combative family.
Pop Trivia With Rian Johnson's 'Knives Out'
Found myself really enjoying, if not quite loving, 'Knives Out'. Can understand why it may not be for all, if one doesn't like seeing and hearing the truth much earlier on than they would expect, and it is easy to see the ridiculing for Daniel Craig's Southern accent (which is admittedly atrocious). Can totally understand its appeal and why it was so positively received though, because to me it was a well made, well acted and cleverly written film that shows that director Rian Johnson does have a great film in him. While not perfect or one of the best films ever made (though was not expecting 'The Godfather' or 'Casablanca' etc), it is a long way from being a 1/10 film, putting it down there with most of the films riffed on MST3K, films from SyFy and the Asylum, 'Home Alone 4', 'NeverEnding Story 3', 'Titanic: The Animated Movie' and the Baby Geniuses films is insulting. As far as 2019 goes, it is towards being one of the better films of that year if not one of the very best.
'Knives Out' had potential to be even better than it was. If it didn't overdo or repeat too much the vomiting running gag and slowed the final solution down (a suitably complicated one that is explained a little too fast for my liking) it would have been a better film.
Wouldn't have said no to the truth (well some of it was) being revealed later than it was, though even when it was placed when it was it was still in the final solution not at all what things initially seemed. The film is a little overlong as well.
However, so much works here. 'Knives Out' looks great, full of atmospheric colour, beautiful locations (the interiors of the house are especially atmospheric), stylishly photographed and slickly edited. Nathan Johnson's score has menace and energy, without feeling overused or over-scored. Johnson directs expertly with a clear love for the genre being sent up.
It is a cleverly scripted film too, shining especially in the smart and affectionate 70s murder mystery throwbacks and deliciously salty one liners and insults from Ransom. The story never felt dull to me and even when things seemed obvious too early some ingenious unexpected twists are brought in. Can totally see how Johnson was so influenced by Christie's writing, evidenced from as early on as the terrific opening sequence and with Christopher Plummer's patriarch character (a type of character seen frequently in Christie's books). A fine example of how to bring freshness to a very familiar genre often visited, while the final solution is incredibly clever though demands full attention.
Moreover, the ensemble cast, one of the best from that year, clearly have a ball. There is some delicious deadpan but also some inspired but not overdone scenery-chewing. Accent aside, Craig does a great job breaking away from his Bond image and revels being comedic in a laconic way. Plummer (RIP) is perfectly cast and while his screen time is not large he makes the absolute most of it. Ana De Armas has one of the most difficult roles and shows no signs of being taxed. Jamie Lee Curtis, Toni Collette, Don Johnson and Michael Shannon all give it everything they've got. My favourite performance came from Evans, also breaking away from typecasting, he was never this witty or salty.
Overall, very, very good. 8/10
- Feb 10, 2021