PRO: Who dunnit? – Mark Haselden
Hilariously aware of both itself and its bounteous predecessors, Knives Out is a wondrous murder mystery that leads its characters and audience along for a merry chase to discover ‘who done it?’. Set on the Cluedo-esque estate of a recently deceased author, celebrated detective Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) leads an investigation into the possibility of foul play.
Rian Johnson’s film boasts excellent performances by a star-studded cast, including a fantastic Ana de Armas, while Craig’s Louisiana drawl is an interesting – if out of place – choice that suits the light-hearted manner of the film. A lively aesthetic, coupled with a plot that sharply sets the stakes as well as thrillingly raise them, culminates in an attention-grabbingly enjoyable watch.
With twists and reveals galore, Knives Out will keep you guessing till the brilliant end.
CON: Who cares? – Mark Esper
Rian Johnson’s Knives Out is a composite of influences. Pulling together Agatha Christie’s Crooked House, Midsummer Murders and Columbo crossed with Hercule Poirot, it feels a bit too familiar. However, the real fly in the ointment is the reputation of director Rian Johnson. Departing from Christie’s template of introducing a victim who is murdered shortly afterwards, Johnson lets his audience travel ahead of the cast. Armed with the real identity of the murderer, the sole intention here is for comedic farce rather than to upend the murder mystery.
So, depending on your appetite for a revisit that runs on rails, this is one journey that never leaves the station. Enjoyable for the shared ham, Craig and co. carve themselves into familiar slices, when the best cutlery should only be reserved for Agatha Christie’s originals.
Knives Out | Directed by Rian Johnson (US, 2019), with Daniel Craig, Ana de Armas, Jamie Lee Curtis, Chris Evans. Starts Jan 2.
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