I have long been a fan of the classic whodunit. Whether it be in a film or television series, I have always been drawn to the genre. There is something exciting about sitting there, formulating your own theories and hanging on to every clue until the mystery unravels – either proving you right, or so completely wrong. If you too love a great mystery, then Knives Out is the perfect film for you, as it is everything I could have wished for.
Written, produced and directed by Rian Johnson, Knives Out is packed with a star-studded cast that follows an investigation into the mysterious death of the Thrombey family’s patriarch Harlan Thrombey. Harlan, (Christopher Plummer) a successful mystery novelist that has made his fortune through his self-made publishing business. On his 85th Birthday, Harlan invites his complicated family to the mansion to help him celebrate. However, it is when housekeeper Fran (Edi Patterson) discovers Harlan in the attic study with his throat slit and covered in blood, that the real entertainment begins.
Still coming to terms with the death of the head of the family, investigators have requested their presence at the house to ask some final questions to complete their investigation into Harlan’s apparent suicide. Trooper Wagner (Noah Segan) and Det. Lt. Elliot (Lakeith Stanfield) begin to question each family member; Linda Drysdale (Jamie Lee Curtis), Harlan’s eldest daughter and wife of Richard Drysdale (Don Johnson). Joni Thrombey (Toni Collette) as lifestyle influencer and Harlan’s daughter in-law to his late son, Neil. Walter ‘Walt’ Thrombey (Michael Shannon), the youngest son, acting CEO of Harlan’s publishing company and husband to Donna Thrombey (Riki Lindhome). Gransdon, Jacob Thrombey (Jaeden Martell) son of Walt and Donna, and Granddaughter Megan ‘Meg’ Thrombey (Katherine Langford) daughter of Joni. And of course, Great Nana Wanetta Thrombey (K Callan) as Harlan’s mother.
Things begin to get interesting when Detective Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) slowly begins to let his presence known. Hiding in the background, Blanc strikes a key on the piano as the stories begin to wander, seemingly triggering Trooper Wagner to continue with his line of questioning. As the film cuts back and forth between each line of questioning, we begin to piece together the events of the evening. However it is when Benoit Blanc turns his interest to Harlan’s personal nurse, Marta Cabrera (Ana de Armas) that the story really kicks off.
With such a huge cast and complex story, it can be easy to get lost. However, Knives Out is brilliantly pieced together and cleverly drops hints along the way, leaving you guessing and re-guessing at every moment. Not only is this film a brilliantly classic mystery, it is also extremely funny.
Surprisingly, most of the laughs come from Daniel Craig with his deep southern drawl and perfect portrayal of Benoit Blanc’s insatiable curiosity, and because of this, Daniel Craig for me is the clear stand out in this film.
Jamie Lee Curtis is wonderful as the strong female seemingly taking over control of the family since her father’s untimely demise. Toni Collette is hilarious as the whimsical influencer. However, a notable mention needs to go to Chris Evans as the spoiled brat grandson, Hugh ‘Ransom’ Drysdale. After only ever really seeing Chris Evans as Captain America, it was extremely refreshing to see him portray a character as far removed from Cap as possible. I honestly hope that he plays more roles like this in the future because it suited him perfectly. Of course it goes without saying, Christopher Plummer is a living legend and his portrayal as Harlan, the frustrated wealthy patriarch to a spoilt family, yet loving father figure to close friend and nurse Marta, was perfectly executed.
Knives Out is the perfect mix of mystery, intrigue, comedy and is one of my top films of the year. I could not fault it one bit. Just when I thought I had it all figured out, Rian Johnson cleverly drops another twist that kept me guessing right up until the final moments. If there is one film you need to see this year, it is most definitely Knives Out.
You can catch Knives Out in all good cinemas from Thursday, November 28.