Inspired by the works of Agatha Christie, critically acclaimed director Rian Johnson has written, directed and produced his very own whodunnit film, Knives Out. Long-time aficionado Rian grew up reading Christie books and the idea for his own version of this genre originated a decade ago – yet unlike the majority of murder mystery films which are set in a recognisable past era – it is set in America, 2019.
The scene for the set is the 85th birthday party of patriarch Harlan Thrombey (Christopher Plummer) who mysteriously dies during the night. Bond 007 star Daniel Craig, in a thick southern accent so far from those who know him as Bond, plays the role of Detective Benoit Blanc who, upon arrival at the scene, decides it best to revisit the paths of the birthday attendees in the mansion until he completes the investigation.
It is the interactions and interviews with these attendees that make the film hilarious. The family itself are dysfunctional, yet the modern touch allows for new dysfunctional archetypes to exist within a family. For example, there is deceased Harlan’s grandson Jacob Thrombey (Jaeden Martell) who spends his time (more or less), as an internet troll. Then there is lifestyle guru Joni Thrombey, played by Toni Collette as Harlan’s daughter in law and, Katherine Langford as her daughter Megan Thrombey, social activist and liberal arts student. It is an ensemble cast, with no real main protagonist.
The stars are so enjoyable to watch; arrogant, entitled and greedy, the family members are all as bad as each other, freeloading off their father yet arrogant enough to consider themselves more admirable than their counterparts. In contrast is the honest and earnest immigrant Marta (Ana de Armas), who pukes every time she tells a lie, adding to the hilarity of the serious investigation and, trust fund bludger grandson Ransom, personified perfectly by Captain America Chris Evans, whose sense of entitlement for doing nothing is so disagreeable that its funny.
The murder mystery is so lightly enjoyable you almost forget someone has died. Rian has done an amazing job of injecting humour into this film and it is so eloquently done that you enjoy all the twists and turns of the script, without any types of the frustrations you may feel when you are trying to guess or solve an ordinary whodunnit. It is hard to find any fault with this dark humoured murder mystery – it is so refreshing and unique with an end you could not ever have expected – a must see!
Knives Out is currently screening.
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