Knives Out written and directed by Rian Johnson is the surprise hit of the year that I wasn’t expecting. Filled with intelligent writing and great characters, it has become one of my favorite films of 2019. Daniel Craig, Chris Evans, Jamie Lee Curtis, Michael Shannon, Toni Collette, and Christopher Plummer make up the All-Star cast for this ‘Who Done It’ style plot that keeps you guessing up until the very end.
The story follows the Thrombey family after the unexpected death of the patriarch of the family (Plummer). A fortune of wealth is on the table and everyone in the family wants a piece. Two officers and a private investigator are called in to investigate the apparent suicide to find out if foul play has occurred.
Daniel Craig plays Benoit Blanc an eccentric private investigator who’s clever enough to find the holes in everyone’s stories. Craig steals the show in the film and he delivers one of the best performances of his career. He created this amazing southern drawl accent for his character which helps to cement his charismatic dialogue throughout. He is so good in this film that every time he’s on-screen, you’re glued to every movement of the camera. Even with Daniel Craig at his best, he’s still only one component of the amazing cast of characters this film features. Ana de Armas stars as one of the film’s leads and she was the most unexpected hit of the film. She brings everything she has to the table and is able to deliver upon such a wide range of emotions, and is simply wonderful.
This is the kind of film that can be easily spoiled if you say the wrong thing so I won’t go into any bits of the story. All I will say is that it has some of the best writing of the year and it will keep you hooked all the way until the end. My only complaint about this film is that I feel like the first 30 minutes or so are a little arduous to get through. It takes its time to set up the plot and introduce all of the characters and jumps in and out of conversations to try to bridge everything together. Once this introduction part is complete, the film finds its legs and is able to carry the viewer through the rest of the film with ease. It’s just the jarring nature of the style of the film that slaps you in the face and is hard to adjust right from the get-go. It’s kind of like being thrown into a dark environment and the time it takes for your eyes to adjust. It’s difficult at first but once they’re adjusted it’s much easier to navigate.
Rian Johnson has been met with mixed reviews for his last two films Looper (2012) and The Last Jedi (2017). I never had a real issue with either of these films, but I understood the criticisms that people had with them. It was mostly based around questionable story and plot decisions that didn’t deliver as well as they had anticipated. I feel like Knives Out is Rian Johnson’s best film to date and I don’t think it will be met with the same criticisms. He was able to deliver a great story with clever writing upon a classic genre with style and grace. I had an absolute blast with this film and it is one of my favorites of the year. Don’t sleep on this film and most definitely see it in theaters and don’t let anyone spoil it for you.