3:00 pm EST, November 27, 2019

‘Knives Out’ movie review: A brilliant, modern whodunnit with laughs to spare

It’s hard to come up with the right words to describe Knives Out. Incredible? No, not flashy enough. Marvelous? Nah. Stupendous? Definitely. Rian Johnson’s latest original film is a fantastic trip to the movies.

If you’re looking for a great movie to totally absorb your focus and help you escape for a couple of hours, Knives Out is the one you’re looking for. With a stellar cast and a fantastic original script, there is no way you will see all the twists and turns coming in this classic whodunnit.

Knives Out tells the story of a family patriarch who is found dead the morning after his birthday party. His wounds seem to be self-inflicted, but there’s definitely something more to it. Enter Benoit Blanc (played by Daniel Craig) and his seasoned private detective skills.

Knives Out

There’s always room in the fall movie season for a good mystery, and this year, Knives Out is happy to fulfill all your wildest detective dreams. You see, not only is the mystery at the heart of this movie a stellar, unpredictable maze of clues, but I have no doubt you’ll convince yourself you have it figured out at least four times before the closing credits roll.

And, for me, that’s the mark of a great whodunnit. I need to be able to convince myself that I’m smarter than the story, but I’m always more than happy to be the dumbest person in the room by the end. And man oh man, did I feel dumb by the time the final scenes of Knives Out flashed by on screen. I had been had, swindled, hoodwinked by the best in the business. It was a perfect movie night out.

In the hopes of letting everyone enjoy this mystery for the grand adventure it is, I’ll do my best not to spoil a lick of it, but I do want to highlight some of the movie’s most brilliant successes.

The first, the cast, is kind of a no-brainer. I mean, when you get to pair Don Johnson and Jamie Lee Curtis on screen, and give them Chris Evans as their child? That’s a recipe for a dynamic and unstoppable pot of the finest acting gumbo. I must also praise the talents of Christopher Plummer, Michael Shannon, Toni Collette, Katherine Langford, and Riki Lindhome, who add a few more flavors to the mix.

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Knives Out

While not a Thrombey, I would be most remiss not to praise the talents of Daniel Craig, whose Benoit Blanc gave one of the finest smug southern accents I’ve ever heard from a British actor. And while I can’t decide if his detective is the pinnacle of his profession or just spectacularly lucky, Daniel Craig balances that tight rope with poise, giving an added air of unpredictability to the proceedings.

Despite all of those players, the standout member of this cast is Ana de Armas, the caretaker who has become like family to the Thrombeys. I was blown away by this woman’s talent as the plot danced unpredictably out in front of her. She gave the audience a way to enter the world of the Thrombeys without coloring us to who we should blame, root for, or fear. I cannot wait to see what she does next.

Knives Out

Above all, this movie succeeds because it preys on the audience’s expectations. Just when you think Knives Out is going to take the safe road, a new map explodes open before you, full of fascinating possibilities.

While there are a handful of great scripts out there this year already that will undoubtedly compete for Best Original Screenplay at the Oscars in February, I know I will be holding my breath to see if Knives Out gets a much-deserved chance to vie for the prize. Hell, if I had my way, it would have a seat at the Best Picture table as well, but, for now, we just wait and hope.

Knives Out hit theaters everywhere this Friday, November 29.

Our Score

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