Knives out

By Laurie Coker

Rating: A+

Nothing beats a good murder mystery and Knives Out starring Jamie Lee Curtis, Christopher Plumber, Don Johnson, Michael Shannon, Chris Evans, Daniel Craig, Ana de Armas and a host of other awesome actors keeps the audience guessing like an old-style Agatha Christie novel.  Writer/director Rian Johnson plays every trick in the plot twist playbook with Knives Out and coupled with an all-star (if there ever was one), the films is balls-up fun.

Plumber’s character, the senior cast member, dies in the opening act and everyone who knew him could have killed him. Why? For the money – of course. It is the evening of renowned crime novelist Harlan Thrombey’s 85th birthday when he is found dead and all the suspects are in house – having attended the celebration. Famed detective Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) mysteriously appears to investigate the crime that is literally hours old. Thrombey’s private caretaker Marta (de Armas) – the only character with a real heart – inherits his massive fortune and all the attention. Barbs and accusations fly and Marta finds herself surrounded by utter craziness. 

Johnson penned a sweet script and he manages the ideal pacing from start to finish. This cast is fabulous. Craig, in a role far removed from Bond, shines as he almost prances through scenes like a silly Sherlock Holmes. Curtis and Johnson (Don) slay every time they speak and there simply isn’t enough time or space here to gush about the others. Each character captivates and these veteran stars are obviously having one heck of a good time. Quick wit, hilarious one liners, sideways glances and cheap shots fill the room.  This group defines quality ensemble cast. 

While some aspects are likely wholly predictable to mystery fans, Johnson offers up some excellent red-herrings and ridiculous plot twists to keep even the best guessing. The sets, the costumes, the craziness and the colorfulness leap from the screen. Knives Out feels a great deal like watch a live stage performance only better and the characters are bigger and better than life. It earns an A in the gradebook. It is worth watch again, just for the silly shenanigans. 

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