Movie Review Knives Out

MOVIE TITLE: Knives Out. LENGTH: 2 hours, 10 minutes. Movie Review Mom GRADE: A IN A NUTSHELL: Directed by Rian Johnson, this funny “whodunnit” has the same vibe as the 1985 film Clue with an old-fashioned mystery and an outstanding ensemble cast. You will definitely be entertained. TIPS FOR PARENTS: LOTS of smoking. Knives Out tells the story of a family patriarch who is found dead the morning after his birthday party. His wounds seem to be self-inflicted, but there’s definitely something more to it.

by Tommy Delppublished Apr. 6th, 2020

While comparisons between 'Knives Out' and 'Clue' are easy to make, I find the film better fits the idea of a story with holes.

In high school, I had a teacher who would constantly pull out a type of brain teaser to help entertain her students. The idea is simple enough. You're given a quirky little tale with key pieces of information missing and it's then your job to determine the missing bits. Nothing may click in the beginning, but something is clearly amiss and one key clue will likely bring the whole story hurtling towards its explanation and conclusion. In short, it was a story with holes.

When I was younger, I didn't really understand the point or fun in this type of storytelling. I felt like they were always meant to stump you rather than make any logical sense (although they always did in the end).

Movie Review For Knives Out

'Knives Out' has helped me to better understand the attraction to these types of stories though. Sure, things are tricky and misleading on purpose and you'll probably be guessing until the end, but that's the whole point of it! When there's an interesting narrative at play, mystery and excitement can go hand in hand.


'Knives Out' centers around Harlan Thrombey, a world-famous murder mystery novelist and patriarch of the dysfunctional yet affluent family. When he passes away suddenly and unexpectedly, the police are ready to declare it an unfortunate case of suicide. But when private detective and modern-day Sherlock Holmes, Benoit Blanc, arrives on the Thrombey's doorstep, the family proceedings unravel into a messy web of lies and misdeeds.

The Good

Politically charged and subversive, Rian Johnson's surprisingly timely take on a murder mystery trickles information to the viewer. The way the film weaves between narratives and structures is bound to keep sleuths of any age entertained. Great setups and payoffs are the most important part of this genre, and 'Knives Out' is chock full of them.

Production-wise, the film is gorgeous and well-made. The New England countryside provides charming and natural visuals that fit the film's Victorian style and narrative, and the violin-led score is sharp and effective.

It's bright and cheery even with its darker subject matter, so you'll never have any trouble spotting important clues in a poorly-lit scene. The camera work is also enjoyable, as it often twists, turns and swoops to keep up with the film's story.

It may sound silly without context, but the film's final shot is worth a special mention. It's wonderfully epic and filled with a great amount of poetic justice.

Filled with great performances, every member of the cast is given a chance to shine. Daniel Craig's hokey country drawl, in particular, is a constant joy. Dear maeve pdf free download. I also personally love 90 year old Christopher Plummer, who steals the first act of the film as Harlan Thrombey.

Some of the characters are a bit one-note, but the film is aware of that and knows which characters deserve more focus. Props to the lead though (which is a spoiler in and of itself), for delivering a more subdued performance in a film where everyone else feels directly knocked off of a 'Clue' board.

While the ensemble cast is excellent and deserve much praise for all of their performances, the real standout character here is Johnson's work. The movie is soaked in modern-age commentary and much more connected to the real world than other current films. His hands are all over the piece from the whip-smart script and dialogue, to the smooth camera work.

The Bad

Rian Johsnon is really a director's director. He clearly puts his heart and soul into his films and leaves his own indelible mark on them. This is a positive in many ways. You can tell when a movie oozes with passion like 'Knives Out.' There is only one issue with this type of auteur though.

Rian Johnson will do what Rian Johnson does, and his flaws often carry from film to film.

Just like many of his other pieces, the humor in 'Knives Out' can be hit or miss. Being a modern and relative film, a few of the jokes and punchlines have already fell out of the zeitgeist from when the film was written.

Although, with some of the comedic misfires, I have to wonder if anyone would have ever found them funny to begin with.

Also the pacing, while serviceable, has its flaws. It can go a fair amount of time without any big story development, to dumping a lot on the viewer all at once.

This is not a complete negative for a film working in the murder mystery genre, as it still helps to heighten suspense. Things probably could have been spread out slightly better though. When the film's highs are so high, it can be difficult to get through the less exciting moments.

It should be noted that none of the flaws are anywhere near deal-breakers. If you're looking for a good time, 'Knives Out' is the perfect movie.

Final Thoughts

It's hard to speak on the topical themes at play within the film without spoiling major plot details. I'm willing to avoid the subject entirely though, as the less you know going in, the better! Hopefully though, the film’s tackling of hot button issues will help to make it a timely classic for our era.

With 'Knives Out,' classic Agatha Christie tropes are infused with modern style. A great cast and a witty script make for a rollicking good time. And to top it all off, the movie provides a perfect bow to tie everything together — just as a good whodunit should!

As the days of 2019 dwindle down to a precious few, we’re unlikely to see the year produce a more richly entertaining film than the splendid comic whodunit “Knives Out” (Lionsgate).

Though writer-director Rian Johnson’s ensemble homage to Agatha Christie — and the big-screen adaptations of her work — is strictly for grown-ups, it provides a brainy and satisfying movie.

The case at hand concerns the death, in the wake of a family party on the night of his 85th birthday, of famous and wealthy crime novelist Harlan Thrombey (Christopher Plummer).

The police officers assigned to investigate, Lt. Elliott (LaKeith Stanfield) and Trooper Wagner (Noah Segan), insist Harlan killed himself. But shrewd Southern detective Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig), who has been hired by an anonymous client, has other ideas.

Benoit, whose Francophone — presumably Cajun — background is a tip of the hat to Christie’s famous Belgian sleuth Hercule Poirot, seeks answers among the eccentric members of Harlan’s conflict-ridden clan. And, unsurprisingly, it turns out that virtually every one of them (played, among others, by Chris Evans, Jamie Lee Curtis, Michael Shannon, Don Johnson and Toni Collette) had a reason for wanting the old man dead.

As he tries to navigate his way through this morass of competing motives, Benoit enlist the help of Harlan’s caring and sensible Latina nurse, Marta (Ana de Armas). Marta makes an excellent witness and guide to events because she has an unusual medical condition: she cannot tell a lie without getting sick to her stomach. Yet even Marta’s role in the mystery is not what it initially appears.

Clever twists and turns, worthy of Christie herself, abundant humor and sly social commentary make Johnson’s movie a dandy treat. There is a hard edge to the proceedings, though, since so many of the figures on screen are grasping, entitled, selfish and perpetually quarrelsome.

Christian Movie Review Knives Out

Those qualities are, of course, being satirized. Yet at least some viewers may not care for the company of such ethically impoverished characters. There is also at least one important aspect of the story requiring mature discernment — another good reason, along with thematic and vocabulary considerations, to steer kids elsewhere.

Still, in the end, good triumphs over evil and Johnson handles this final development just as deftly as he treats the rest of his material. As a result, there’s a particular relish to the wrap-up. Call it the sweetly moral cherry atop the flavorful cinematic sundae that is “Knives Out.”

Plugged In Movie Review Knives Out

The film contains brief gory violence, a morally complex situation, drug use, sexual references, about a dozen profanities, a few milder oaths, a couple of rough terms, frequent crude and crass language and an obscene gesture. The Catholic News Service classification is A-III — adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13 — parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.

— John Mulderig

Knives Out Movie Review Ebert

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