LFF Review: “Guaranteed to thrill and exponentially increase doughnut sales” – Knives Out

Rating: 5 out of 5.

“Keeps you entertained and surprised for the entirety of its runtime” 

In a week where British Twitter is admiring the investigative skills of Coleen Rooney, Rian Johnson’s Knives Out is a kooky whodunnit that exists perfectly within this shady, social media era. 

As an avid reader of Agatha Christie, my expectations were high and still exceeded. By setting this murder mystery in present day, Johnson updates the Queen of Crime’s classic tropes to make a film that will keep you entertained and surprised for the entirety of its runtime. 

Bringing up a mug that reads “my coffee, my house, my rules” housekeeper (Edi Patterson) discovers patriarch Harlan Thrombey (Christopher Plummer) with his throat slit, knife in hand. An empire built on successful crime novels is upturned, and the events of his birthday party the night before are investigated. 

Alongside the police (Noah Segan and Lakeith Stanfield), Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) a private investigator whose reputation precedes him, has been hired. Did Harlan kill himself or is there foul play afoot? Let the game of Clue begin! A flurry of motives and “-icides” are all distinct possibilities in this ornate house of suspects. 

The archetypes that were previously classy and intriguing in novels of the 20th century become hilariously vapid, driving home the outdated nature of the modern upper class. Cigars are replaced with vapes, and dinner table politics match an aggressive, polarised America. These characters are recognisable within today’s society: the well-meaning immigrant nurse (Ana des Armas), the Instagram influencer (Toni Colette), the self-made businesswoman (Jamie Lee Curtis), her cheating leech of a husband (Don Johnson) the beret-wearing SJW (Katherine Langford) and naturally, the teen Nazi (Jaeden Martell).

The brilliance of Knives Out‘s extensive cast is both a blessing and a curse, as some actors get to flex their comedic muscles more than others. You can see Daniel Craig in his element with an excellent Southern accent, invigorated after his recently tired performances as James Bond. Toni Colette and Jamie Lee Curtis show off exactly why they’re icons, Ana des Armas shines, and as trailers show, Chris Evans has a hysterical level of vitriol you’d never see from Captain America. On the other hand, singing satire legend Riki Lindholme and Sorry to Bother You star Lakeith Stanfield don’t quite get the same platform, but not to the detriment of the story. 

If you enjoyed the “rich people have brain worms” black comedy of Ready Or Not from earlier this year, you’ll love watching this ridiculous mansion family tear itself apart. Prepare yourself for a rollercoaster ride of a film, guaranteed to thrill and exponentially increase doughnut sales in your local area. 

Dir: Rian Johnson

Prod: Ram Bergman, Leopold Hughes, Rian Johnson, Nikos Karamigios, Tom Karnowski

Cast: Daniel Craig, Jamie Lee Curtis, Ana Des Aromas, Lakeith Stanfield, Toni Colette, Christopher Plummer, Katherine Langford, Chris Evans, Don Johnson.  

Release date: 27th November 2019 (UK & Ireland)