Knives Out

Knives Out Review

by N. Wyatt

***** 5 Stars

‘It has bucketfuls of character and a refreshing story-line that keeps the audience enthralled from beginning to end.’

Actors: Daniel Craig, Jamie Lee Curtis, Chris Evans

Director: Rian Johnson

Synopsis: Knives Out is a carefully crafted murder mystery surrounding a wealthy American family and the mysterious death of the famous crime novelist, family patriarch Harlan Thrombey (Christopher Plummer). When notorious detective Benoit Noir (Daniel Craig) turns up alongside local police enforcements, the mystery begins to unravel.

It’s very rare that a murder mystery captures my attention the way that Knives Out managed. 

A clear passion project from everybody involved, the whole film oozes charisma right from the get go. A sombre and cold opening soon develops into a comical and entertaining story-line that is so ridiculous and undeniably implausible and yet still believable. Daniel Craig reprises his southern charm, most recently seen in 2017’s Logan Lucky, contrasting his usual stoic and dry role as 007. Craig’s ability for comic acting is greatly underestimated and I’m sure we are yet to see his true range as an actor.  It is safe to say that Craig’s post Bond career is looking much more promising than Pierce Brosnan’s (Mamma Mia 3 coming soon).

I was disappointed with the most recent reboot of the Agatha Christie classic Murder On the Orient Express. Branagh attempted to cover up how monotonous and routine his direction of the film was with snazzy mainstream actors and unnecessary computer graphics. Knives Out does also fall into some of the same traps, going for an all star line up over new actors, however it has bucketfuls of character and a refreshing story-line that keeps the audience enthralled from beginning to end. Unlike the Orient Express, the cast of Knives Out genuinely seem as if they are enjoying their time spent on the film, with charismatic performances coming from even the most minor characters. Although Knives Out at times borrows from Poirot, it steals the genre and reinvents a classic storytelling narrative in the process.

Knives Out is a masterclass in visual storytelling. Narrative clues are clear to the viewer when necessary and yet not so painfully obvious that they feel shoehorned into the story. In a film where  every scene is dense with different objects and props it is key that viewers don’t get lost in the surroundings. The set perfectly encapsulates the atmosphere created throughout: cold, mysterious, eerie and yet deeply comical. Murder Mysteries are heavily reliant on how much thought is behind the set design; Johnson uses this fully and ensures that every detail perfectly aligns with his narrative.

Knives Out manages to be what many films lack: fun. Every minute is clearly enjoyable not only for the viewers but also for Johnson and the all-star cast. Make sure not to waste time buying refreshments before the film because you’re not going to want to miss a second.

Knives Out is currently available in UK Cinemas and was rated 12A by the BBFC.

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