Knives Out film review: twists at every turn

Daniel Craig as Benoit Blanc, LaKeith Stanfield as Lieutenant Elliott and Noah Segan as Trooper Wagner in Knives Out
Daniel Craig as Benoit Blanc, LaKeith Stanfield as Lieutenant Elliott and Noah Segan as Trooper Wagner in Knives Out

KNIVES Out takes the whodunit genre and flips it on its head, and then flips it again just for good measure.

This modern take on the genre features iPhones and references to Hamilton and Baby Driver, but retains a vintage vibe via the extraordinarily gothic mansion that in some ways is the star of the film.

This mansion belongs to Harlan Thromby (Christopher Plummer), a renowned crime writer who is discovered by his extended family with his throat slit the morning after his 85th birthday party.

Each family member is interviewed by local police, before private detective Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) emerges from the shadows with his eccentric southern drawl to take over the questioning.

Blanc soon realises that motives abound and what was first thought to be a suicide could be something more.

Fans of murder mysteries knows that, despite the gruesome subject matter, whodunits are comforting viewing because every story, whether Sherlock Holmes or Midsomer Murders, works within the confines of familiar tropes before wrapping everything up neatly at the end.

Knives Out’s all star cast L-R: Don Johnson, Jamie Lee Curtis, Chris Evans, K Callan, Ana de Armas, Christopher Plummer, Michael Shannon, Jaeden Martell, Riki Lindhome, Toni Collette and Katherine Langford

Writer and director Rian Johnson deploys these tropes to his full advantage, playing around, parodying and subverting them in a way that is delightful and hilarious to watch.

It is quickly apparent that the real protagonist of the film is Marta (Ana de Armas), Harlan’s nurse and companion who is Latino, though the family can never quite remember which country she comes from.

They constantly tell her she is one of the family, but their liberalism quickly falls to wayside when their sense of order and superiority is threatened.

Rather than returning to a traditional sense of order like most whodunits, Knives Out ends with the creation of a new order in a way that is politically relevant and immensely satisfying.

With something fun or new to enjoy at every twist and turn, Knives Out is the non-franchise blockbuster we have all been craving.

THE ESSENTIALS

Knives Out (M)

Director: Rian Johnson

Starring: Christopher Plummer, Daniel Craig, Ana de Armas

Five stars

Now showing

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