A spot of blood. Shoeprints in the mud. A broken lattice. Clues point a finger at the very one we don’t want guilty. In other words, Knives Out, a Rian Johnson film, is a delightful bit of movie fun.
This old-fashioned Agatha Christie-type of whodunit serves up the usual tropes with twists: a house that looks like it ought to be haunted, a murder-mystery writer murdered, a family of suspects who are all a little too spoiled from novelist dad’s success.
The chase scene is so funny, I busted with laughter. So did my normally restrained husband. Later as we drove home, we laughed some more, talking animatedly about favorite scenes. It was that kind of movie.
The line-up spurs the fun. Daniel Craig is cigar-smoking Detective Benoit Blanc, a southern gentleman, and sleuth. Christopher Plummer—yes!—plays the novelist who hard lines his spoiled adult children. Chris Evans of Captain America fame, Jamie Lee Curtis, Toni Collette, and Don Johnson are a few of the children and grandchildren who simply must keep their unearned wealth. Cuban Ana de Armas sweetens scenes with her wide eyes and kindness as Marta Cabrera, the resident nurse, and companion.
Schadenfreude, delight in the (earned) misfortune of others, adds another layer of satisfaction. On the violence scale, Knives Out is mostly a “cozy” except for that one brief scene which I’d describe in detail, but I closed my eyes, so I can’t.
Rian Johnson wrote, directed and produced this film. His previous works include Brick, Looper, and Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Rotten Tomatoes awarded Knives Out a very high rating: 97 percent. Go see this film for its lively mix of suspense—and fun. (Lionsgate)
About the Author
Cynthia Beach is the author of the novel The Surface of Water and Creative Juices for Writers. She is a longtime English professor at Cornerstone University and cofounder of Scriptoria: An Interfaith Writing Workshop with Gary Schmidt (scriptoriaworkshop.org). Visit her at cynthiabeach.com.