Knives Out Review: Daniel Craig, Chris Evans & Ana de Armas' whodunit film is unpredictably delightful

Knives Out Review: The knives are out and stars are coming out to play in full force as Daniel Craig, Chris Evans and Ana de Armas delight us with an unusual murder mystery that is further accentuated to perfection by Rian Johnson's crisp storyline. Read the full review below.
Starring Daniel Craig and Chris Evans, Knives Out released today, i.e. November 29, 2019.Starring Daniel Craig and Chris Evans, Knives Out released today, i.e. November 29, 2019.
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Knives Out

Knives Out Director: Rian Johnson

Knives Out Cast: Daniel Craig, Chris Evans, Ana de Armas, Jamie Lee Curtis

Knives Out Stars: 3.5/5

Everyone loves a good murder mystery, including yours truly! Unfortunately, the whodunit genre has steadfastly stepped into the whims and fancies of commercialism with every audience member pretending to be a Sherlock Holmes. The unpredictability of a good suspense ending is often overshadowed by shoddy foreshadowing or stereotypical characters and the final product is usually dissatisfying. In, enters Knives Out, written and directed by Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017) fame Rian Johnson, who concocts a family murder mystery with such finesse and class that you'll feel like the guilty one.

It must be true that the director of the film truly understands a story when he's written it himself and Rian is a primary example. The filmmaker does not shy away from stealing from the murder mystery genre. He actually celebrates the genre for its eccentricities that made it a guilty pleasure in the first place. When it comes to the storyline, the murder victim is Harlan Thrombey (Christopher Plummer), a wealthy crime novelist, who dies the night of his 85th birthday. In what was first suspected as a clear case of suicide turns into a full-fledged murder investigation as Detective Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) gets an anonymous tip and loads of cash to investigate the suicide, well, as a murder. Benoit then rallies in the entire Thrombey family, who have secrets of their own to hide. In the process, Blanc also enlists the help of Harlan's trusted aide and nurse, Marta Cabrera (Ana de Armas) as his very own Watson.

It's the age-old Agatha Christie meets wealthy Americans story of finding the culprit in a murder but Rian makes use of his witty storytelling techniques and star power to give us a juicy mystery to remember, well after the 132 minutes. First up, we have Daniel Craig, who sheds his James Bond-like qualities and has a fun time playing the Southern private investigator whose ambiguous personality is appealing to the eyes. In what could have been a stereotypical detective, Daniel adds his own flavours to draw the line between being one-dimensional and entertaining. He's also been bestowed the best one-liners which are quote-worthy. Following Craig's pattern, Chris Evans too sheds his good-guy Captain America avatar to breathe new life to his repertoire as a performer. We all knew he had the potential to play the bad guy you hate to love and as Hugh "Ransom" Drysdale, Evans delivers with a clear-cut flamboyance and panache. 

The real show-stealer of Knives Out is Ana de Armas, who sinks her teeth wholly into Marta and is the symbolism of the elitist's attitude to immigrants. There's a poignant scene between all the family members fighting over the immigration issues that America is currently plagued with and in contrast, is the constant motif that none of these members know where Marta is really from. Through the recipe of a murder mystery, the social commentary on an important problem, without being too preachy was a nice and welcome touch by Johnson.

The supporting cast which includes Jamie Lee Curtis, Michael Shannon, Don Johnson and Toni Collete is the classic Cluedo murder suspects who are reinvigorated with modernity. For example, Toni's character Joni Thrombey owns a Goop inspired lifestyle brand and also the personality of what such an owner would walk, talk and even breathe like. What is a disappointment is the lack of use of a talented performer like Katherine Langford who plays Megan "Meg" Thrombey. Katherine is almost like a pawn in a chess piece, something you need to tackle to get to the real queen!

A good rich family murder mystery has its common elements; a gorgeous castle-like Brownwood mansion in the middle of a forest, where security cameras can only capture as per convenience, an affinity for operatic music, an antique piece filled with roulette of knives as the centerpiece while other spooky art pieces make up for the entire setting and the pension for the characters to look guilty at all times and places. All of this has been inspired and put to good use, but Knives Out somehow manages to still remain a fresh and unpredictable delight. Untill the very end, you're left guessing and it's the final shot outside the big mansion that really sealed the deal for me. Look closer at the start, the murderer might just be there. It could even be near 'you'!

ALSO READ: Chris Evans felt he was 'graduating from high school or college' when he bid farewell to Captain America

Knives Out is a movie that I would definitely recommend to the preachers hunting for a good murder mystery because for once, in a really long time, the suspense and the characters slice through the storyline like a hot knife with butter. The knives are all out and you will definitely be played, in the best of ways!

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