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'Knives Out': Movie Review

Kimberly Carr


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From the Studio

When renowned crime novelist Harlan Thrombey (Christopher Plummer) is found dead at his estate just after his 85th birthday, the inquisitive and debonair Detective Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) is mysteriously enlisted to investigate. From Harlan's dysfunctional family to his devoted staff, Blanc sifts through a web of red herrings and self-serving lies to uncover the truth behind Harlan's untimely death.

First and Last Impressions

In classic whodunit-style, Knives Out provides a cinematic mystery escapade, and I left the theater with a big smile on my face. Simply put, this film made my Agatha Christie-loving little heart happy.

The expertly chosen cast includes Chris Evans (Captain America), Jamie Lee Curtis (Halloween), Michael Shannon (The Shape of Water), and Ana de Armas as the central sympathetic Marta. Each actor dazzles in their role, but they truly shine when the ensemble assembles. Daniel Craig, with his ghostly blue eyes, has an unexpected Kentucky-fried southern accent and easily commands the attention of cast and audience alike. Though not billed as a comedy, there are several tension-releasing moments of humor. This film is not afraid to make fun of itself.

The characters are so thoroughly written that they can easily stand alone. But it is their bickering interactions with each other that form a greater portrait of this glossy family which is rotting from within. Close-ups of actors’ faces are incredibly close, lending a sense of off-kilter discomfort. The personality of the family as a whole is bound in each member – and in the clues which filmmakers gift to the audience in every shot.

That said, PAY ATTENTION. To everything. Elements of the story are revealed in the objects in scenes. However, don’t try to solve the mystery. Instead, enjoy the show. It is a beautiful presentation with rich colors saturating both costuming and decor, varied textures, and moody landscapes.

Nearing the close of the film, it feels as though there are a thousand loose ends yet to be tied. However, characters deliver a satisfying summation, invoking the spirits of both Jessica Fletcher and Detective Lt. Columbo.

Be Aware

Christ-like values and morals are scarce in this film. There are also scenes showing marijuana use, and profanity is throughout. Scenes of violence are tolerable and thankfully lacking in gore.

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