HOLLYWOOD─I think one of the most difficult things to do in the cinematic universe is to manifest a smart, clever, and intelligent whodunit that totally knocks the socks off the audience. I cannot recall the last time I had such an entertaining time at the multiplex than when watching “Knives Out.” Not only does this thriller revolve around the whodunit element, it has a stellar cast, and I repeat: it has a stellar cast.
We have Daniel Craig, Chris Evans, Christopher Plummer, Jamie Lee Curtis, Toni Collette, Michael Shannon, Don Johnson, shall I continue? The mystery revolves around this hilarious, kooky, group of characters, as the audience meets the Thrombey family. The patriarch is none other than Harlan Thrombey (Plummer), who is pitch perfection as the cold, stern, yet mischievous crime novelist, where everyone in his family is angling to get their hands on his inheritance when he dies.
The family gathers to celebrate his 85th birthday, and as morning dawns, Harlan’s caretaker, Marta (Ana de Armas), finds his dead body. Cue private detective Benoit Blanc (Craig) who is secretly hired by someone to investigate Harlan’s demise. This is an interesting departure for Craig who is known by many as James Bond, so to see him portray a character that has some odd kirks and is not a womanizer, while saving the world is a treat to watch.
Cue the mystery because it becomes a guise of a who’s who and who can be trusted to solve the mystery of who killed Harlan. Everyone has a motive, but all is not as it seems which is why “Knives Out” is the best whodunit I’ve seen in years. It is very difficult to pull one on a film critic, especially someone who studies every gambit, motif and tool used in the cinematic universe. Evans has never been better as a suave, slick playboy.
You can tell some of his behavior is a direct result of his overly successful and powerful real estate mother, Linda (Curtis), whose character is so dynamic it’s difficult to pinpoint a specific word to describe her. Her husband, Richard, has been up to no good behind her back, while Harlan’s son Walt (Shannon) was cut lose by dear ole dad from his publishing company. One would make the argument that Harlan made a list of enemies and he did it intentionally which is an important point for viewers to be attentive to.
This family trades spars, deep cuts and laughs at one another, which just reminds you of your family. You have that sibling you cannot stand, that in-law who boils your blood or that relative who just loves to critique for the sake of critiquing. You’re telling yourself while watching “Knives Out” that that is my family, and if you don’t identify with every character, you will find at least one or two whom you absolutely identify with and that makes the movie that much more enthralling.
None of the characters in this flick are one note, and that is a direct result of sensational casting and stellar actors. Collette, who I deem a chameleon knows how to flip her character on a dime and she does it in a way that is so effortless it is damn scary, but hilarious at the same time. It is difficult to talk about “Knives Out” without spoiling major details, but this movie is a ton of entertainment that you’ll enjoy and tell plenty of people for days to come.