Director Rhian Johnson must’ve pondered how he was to follow up what was considered one of the most anticipated movies of all time. When Star Wars: The Last Jedi was released in December 2017 it was met with polarizing reviews from the general public and scathing comments from Star Wars fans with some calling for it to be re-made. Rather than shrink back and play defence, Johnson has returned with a self-written, original and quirky who-done-it drama/black comedy Knives Out which has restored some of the director’s credibility.
When wealthy author Harlen Thromby (Christopher Plummer) is found dead by his maid, seemingly by suicide, the morning after his 85thbirthday party, the local police and renowned detective, Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) are brought in to investigate the events that took place the night prior. Whilst questioning each family member, beginning with Thronby’s own children and partners (Jamie Lee Curtis, Michael Shannon, Don Johnson, Toni Colette) the overall picture of reliance, lies and greed slowly emerges as the combative family’s hidden agendas come to the fore as they attempt to claim the massive inheritance.
In the middle of everything is seemingly innocent nurse and Thromby’s close friend Marta (Ana De Armas) who was the last person to see her boss alive and Harlen’s grandson Ransom (Chris Evans – very much not in Captain America mode) – possibly the only person Marta can trust. But with the case apparently an obvious death by suicide, who has paid Blanc an envelope full of cash to investigate the goings on?
In this day and age of reboots, sequels and big budget fare, it is refreshing that a wholly original, lower costed film has been released with such a great cast. With a movie this stuffed with top names, it is inevitable that some will suffer with a lack of screen time and a few members fail to make much of an impression but those who do (Craig, Johnson, De Armas) are on sparkling form.
As the investigation unfolds and more secrets are unearthed, the audience will be left guessing almost to the end as to the, not just who, but why and how.
Whilst Knives Out doesn’t provide an entirely successful pay off, it succeeds in its ability to remain enjoyable and fairly gripping until the final reveal. It’s a clever and gutsy return to form by the director and whilst, not a game changer by any means, Knives Out is a game worth playing.
Movie Mark gives Knives out a 7/10