The murder-mystery is a lost art in today’s film scene. This is because a 2019 audience doesn’t have the patience for the time it takes to spin a puzzling and entertaining tale. The way you fix this is by assembling an all-star cast with some sharp dialog and some great direction that buys you the time to tell your story. This is what “Knives Out” successfully accomplishes.
When millionaire book publisher, Harlan Thrombey, dies one evening after a birthday celebration filled with arguments with his beautifully despicable family of gold diggers, it’s up to a private detective, a pair of cops, and a private nurse to figure everything out.
It works really well.
And it’s all about the performances here. How do you run down the talent in this cast? Goodness. Daniel Craig, Chris Evans, Jamie Lee Curtis, Toni Collette, Christoper Plummer, the criminally underrated LaKeith Stanfield, it just keeps going and going and they’re all so good. Especially, the family with their razor sharp exchanges that are at the same time just over the top goofy. Rian Johnson’s direction is wonderful and proof that he’s recovered from his Star Wars hangover. The story is brisk and very well shot.
Not that it’s a negative, but this is actually an Ana de Armas movie at it’s heart with her nurse character, but that’s okay. What it does is creates a whirlwind of craziness that draws towards her to keep it all grounded. Don’t worry, there is still plenty of James Bond with Craig’s southern gentlemen detective and Captain America with Evans playing a detestable grandson.
I also wish I could have a whole movie with either Bond’s detective character or just footage of the family arguing for 90 minutes. There is an excellent chance they would both work.
It could have been a hair shorter and the reveal gets slightly snagged, but at the end of the day “Knives Out” is a great reintroduction to murder-mystery story telling.
Running Time: 2hrs 10 minutes