• Audrey Walter

Knives Out: Murder Mystery Masterpiece

Updated: Jun 29, 2020

A New Take on Clue

Knives Out is a 2019 film directed by Rian Johnson. You may find the named Rian Johnson quite familiar. He directed one of the most controversial star wars movies yet: Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi. This made many people scared of what this new movie would turn out to be.

When I first saw the trailer for Knives Out in theatres, my boyfriend and I thought it looked ridiculous. The trailer seemed goofy and too simple to interest me. Yet months later, I started to hear good reviews pop up online. I wondered if I shouldn’t have judged a movie by its trailer.

And alas, here I am, eating my words.

Spoilers Ahead!

The cast for this movie was phenomenal.

This film is packed with cast members who people will know right at first glance, such as Daniel Craig, Jamie Lee Curtis, and Chris Evans. This was to attract an audience for the movie.

Then there were actors who are well known to movie buffs, such as Toni Collette, Michael Shannon, Don Johnson, and Christopher Plummer. And we have newcomers that young audiences would know like Katherine Langford and Jaeden Martell. This cast crossed off all the ways to attract an audience!

However, the main protagonist in the movie is played by Ana de Armas who is not an acclaimed actress. To some people, the main lead should be someone we all know. But to me, choosing her was the best decision. None of her past roles created any bias while I watched the movie; she felt like an actual person who was being investigated. I felt connected to her like she was a normal person and not already a notable actress.

In fact, in the trailer, it seemed like Daniel Craig (Benoit Blanc) was the lead actor. But when watching the movie, he seems to support Marta Cabrera (Ana de Armas).

Ana de Armas and Daniel Craig as Marta Cabrera and Benoit Blanc.

This wonderful and talented cast had an equally amazing script. The script was hilarious, upbeat, and fresh. The dialogue kept the film from feeling long and pushed the scenes along quite nicely. The film is a bit over two hours long yet felt so quick because I was having such a great time watching.

The only qualms I had about acting in the whole movie were small details. Benoit Blanc’s southern drawl was a tad extreme. It's exaggerated and a bit lost, yet still didn’t disrupt the flow of the movie because of Daniel Craig’s superior acting chops. The accent was also quite funny, so it worked since this movie was quite comedic itself.

Joni Thrombey’s (Toni Collette) pulled off a convincing valley girl accent. Likewise, Meg Thrombey’s (Katherine Langford) had a great American accent. Shockingly enough, both women are Australian and have clearly mastered the American accent.

The second problem I had was with Lakeith Stanfield’s character Lieutenant Elliott. His acting seems to be very one-note. But he didn’t have a large part in the movie which made it a pretty minor problem, as it wasn’t distracting.

The plot of the movie was really refreshing as well. It reminded me of the 1985 movie Clue. A classic “whodunnit” murder mystery is sure to strike my fancy.

I’m one to admit that I love playing mystery-based video games such as the Ace Attorney games. This movie reminded me so much of how the Ace Attorney cases play out.

Chris Evans as Ransom Drysdale in his cable knit sweater (am I right ladies).

While watching Knives Out, I got a sense of who the killer was pretty quick. But I didn’t know how the character did it, which made my mind go through all the possible outcomes. But everything I thought of was wrong! In the end, the murder was done through a very drawn out and coincidental way. It was amazing how the writers came up with such a detailed ending. This mystery made you pay attention to minute details.

The film starts out with Blanc interviewing members of the Thrombey family and Harlan's nurse, Marta Cabrera, getting us up to speed on who they are and what they do. In a comical twist, Marta finds it impossible to lie without vomiting, making her the perfect person for Blanc to interview.

Why are they being interviewed? Well, a successful author and patriarch of the family, Harlan Thrombey, was murdered. But there was another mystery: who hired Benoit Blanc?

As you watch the family get interviewed, you start to think of their motives and who had the biggest reason to kill Harlan. Was it Richard Drysdale, the cheating son-in-law that Harlan threatened to out to his daughter, Linda?

Could it have been Joni Thrombey, Harlan’s broke daughter-in-law that used money meant for her daughter Meg’s tuition for her own gain?

Or was it Walt Thrombey, the youngest child of Harlan who ran his publishing company until he was cut from owning it?

The Thrombey's, hoping Marta will share the inheritance.

There were so many possibilities!

But then there was a bombshell--Marta "killed" Harlan. She accidentally switched his nightly medication, giving him 100mg of Morphine instead of his 3mg dose. Yet Harlan was found with his throat slit. So what really happened?

I was stunned at this point. But that’s it? There was still a whole hour left of the movie!

This is when I really tried to use my self-proclaimed amazing thinking abilities. Let’s be real, we all knew it was Ransom Drysdale (Chris Evans).

But how?

Well, when you get to the bombshell ending, you’ll be shocked. This ending has such an Ace Attorney-style ending and explained all the holes in the story perfectly. I had no idea how Ransom did it until Blanc explained it all. The ending of this movie left with my mouth open.

And did I mention Harlan left everything in his will to Marta? That showed the true colors of the family members, I’d say.

Aside from the incredible plot, this movie was engaging in its cinematography as well. The colors throughout the film were rich and intriguing. Most of the scenes were filmed inside Harlan Thrombey’s mansion, so the design of the home was quite captivating.

The usage of slow-motion done at dramatic moments made it not overused or distracting. It kept the feel of an old murder mystery while still being up-to-date.

None of the characters were over shined and had adequate lines in relation to their characters. Some characters didn’t have many lines at all, such as Jacob Thrombey (Jaeden Martell). But it didn’t feel unfair at all and felt balanced.

My Verdict?

Overall, this movie was absolutely amazing. I recommend anyone to watch this movie. Movie buffs and casual moviegoers alike will enjoy this movie to the fullest. There was nothing about this movie that could make me give it a less than perfect rating.

The movie sets itself up for multiple sequels where we can follow Benoit Blanc to another murder mystery. Can’t say I’m not excited for what a Knives Out 2 would hold!

I give Knives Out a 10/10.

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