Knives Out (2019) has been hailed as one of the best films of the year. The film didn’t exceed my expectations by too much of margin though.
It contains all the tropes associated with a modern mystery. The rich victim (Christopher Plummer). Check. The hot non-Caucasian protagonist (Ana de Armas – in a film where she proved she’s more than just a pretty face). Check. The asshole (Chris Evans). Check. The racist (Don Johnson). Check. The eccentric detective who is something of a cross between Hercule Poirot and Sherlock Holmes (Daniel Craig – in a career-defining role). Check. And an ensemble containing, but not limited to, Jamie Lee Curtis, Toni Collette, Michael Shannon, and Katherine Langford.
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When you have a cast this star-studded, it’s difficult for everyone to shine, but director Rian Johnson proves he can work magic with a magnificient ensemble in a feature-length film (just as he did in Star Wars: The Last Jedi). But unlike that movie, which proved controversial due to going against the norms of space opera, Knives Out brings nothing new to the table.
The plot is cliche-ridden and though the movie starts with finesse, the second act is tedious, with the third act becoming the epitome of predictable – especially to a viewer who has seen and/or read multiple whodunits before. I also found the storyline to be flawed which I didn’t expect from a director-writer with Johnson’s experience. How this flick became nominated for Best Original Screenplay is beyond me as there was nothing unique about it.
However, the saving grace of Knives Out are the performances. Ana de Armas is amazing as the mostly clueless heroine. Christopher Plummer proves he can play the wealthy anti-hero any time if you also consider his stellar enactment of J. Paul Getty. Daniel Craig was my favorite character from this picture and the supporting cast was top-notch as well and lived up to their reputation as Hollywood’s finest.
In the end, Knives Out is a movie you would either love/like but very rarely hate or dislike, and for me this film falls into the former assessment. It is a stylish thriller but this proves to be a negative factor as the film sometimes relies too much on style rather than on substance.
The Rating: 4 out of 5.