Ensemble murder mystery Knives Out is the one movie that you need to be buying a ticket for this holiday season, here’s why.
If there is any doubt in your mind about buying a ticket to Knives Out this week, erase it. Though the trailer leans heavily on the humor in the movie it is much more than a comedy. It’s a whodunnit for the moviegoer who prides themselves on being able to figure out a mystery. The humor is there, of course, but the mystery itself is where the fun lies.
Of course the cast is a major draw also. I’ll list the names: Daniel Craig (James Bond films), Chris Evans (Captain America in the MCU), Ana de Armas (Blade Runner: 2049), Jamie Lee Curtis (Halloween), two-time Oscar nominee Michael Shannon (Revolutionary Road), Don Johnson (Miami Vice), Oscar nominee Toni Collette (Hereditary), Lakeith Stanfield (Sorry to Bother You), Oscar winner Christopher Plummer (Beginners), Katherine Langford (Love, Simon), and Jaeden Martell (St. Vincent, It). All managed to have their moments without the film feeling crowded. The story follows the investigation into the sudden death of patriarch Harlan Thrombey (Plummer) and the friend and family who have gathered to collect his fortune.
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The family dynamic
I mentioned that Knives Out is a great holiday weekend movie and the fun family dynamic at play are one of the main reasons. We’re all preparing for awkward table talk with the politically radical (in either direction) family member. We all have that one family member who has never done anything for themselves and leaches off another family member. Even if you don’t know these, we all know that family members will say one thing to your face and something else behind your back.
All of these things are at play in Knives Out and it makes for some amazing exchanges. At one point in the film the topic of immigration comes up. Several family members are having a heated debate about the topic before conservative uncle Richard Drysdale (Johnson), calls over the fathers nurse Marta (de Armas) for her input.
The daughter of an immigrant mother, you could tell the conversation was already uncomfortable for her and being brought in only made it worse. It was the type of awkward moment that happens at these family gatherings and this was only one example from the movie.
Obviously the mystery is what we’re all here for. Everyone loves a good mystery and you want to know if this one lives up to the hype. In short, it does. Writer/Director Rian Johnson (Star Wars Episode VIII – The Last Jedi) moves pieces around the board masterfully in Knives Out and toys with the audience while not hiding anything from you at the same time. By the time the credits roll you won’t feel like you’ve been deceived though you will have changed your mind about what happened several times throughout the movie.
Within the first 10-15 minutes of the movie I thought I had it figured out and I was annoyed with how obvious it was. Then Johnson changed the game. He completely gives away something important and changes what the real mystery is. As soon as you relax something changes and you have to rethink the entire situation.
You have to pay attention to everything. During the interviews with characters you are given flashbacks and you have to pay attention to the dialogue as well as things that are happening in the background. Everything matters and a loose end I thought I caught early on gets cleared up right at the very end. If you can find a loose end you are better than me!
The most important thing that Knives Out does is provide quality entertainment. Between the humorous exchanges, the tense moments, and the mystery you really do go for a very fun ride. The two-hour-and-11-minute runtime flies by and you will have been perfectly fine sitting in the theater for another hour had Johnson chosen to go that route.
Knives Out lets you walk out of the theater feeling good and will leave you with something to talk about around the dinner table. You can do a lot worse for a family outing this week.
Knives Out is currently available in select theaters and will be available nationwide on Nov. 27.