Knives Out ★★★★½

Knives Out comes to us a few years after Rian Johnson's foray into Star Wars. This stylish, sleek and stunning whodunit showcases Johnson's best tools as a filmmaker; subverting expectations and taking a genre and completely flipping it on it's head. What you get is some of Johnson's strongest work to date. Knives Out tells the story of the questionable death of Harlan Thromby (Christopher Plummer), a wealthy mystery novelist who's family of vultures live off his money. His family each bring their own quirks and baggage to their characters. Linda and Richard Drysdale (Jamie Lee Curtis & Don Johnson), Hugh Ransom Drysdale (Chris Evans), Joni Thromby (Toni Collette), Meg Thromby (Katherine Langford), and Walt Thromby (Michael Shannon) make up this dysfunctional family. The only person Harlan truly trusts is Marta Cabrera (Ana de Armas) his caretaker. After Harlan's bizarre looking death, Detective Elliot (Lakeith Stanfield), Trooper Wagner (Noah Segan) and famous legendary Private Detective Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) are assigned to the case. We are then taken through a mystery with more twists and turns than you think, with the playing field constantly changing and Blanc's eye for investigating sharp and keen. This is an extremely well written script, one that Rian Johnson should be immensely proud of. I found myself not knowing where it was going, laughing hard and being excited by the ending. The writing and directing is one thing, but this film's secret weapon lie's within the characters created on screen. Daniel Craig's Blanc is his most entertaining turn in years. Seeing him create those eccentricities and put that crazy southern accent on is a treat for all. Ana de Armas' turn as Marta is the charater you root for here. Outside of the family murder and Blanc, this is really Marta's story, and de Armas carries the film very well. The entire family is fantastic in their own ways. Jaime Lee Curtis is wonderful as the eldest child of Harlan's. She has the most connection with him and was probably Harlan's favorite child. The MVP's here for me were Michael Shannon and Chris Evans. Shannon was unrelentlessly funny in this film. His comedic chops are top notch and apparently, his funniest lines were almost always improved. Seeing Chris Evans play a spoiled, annoying brat was an exceptional change from his Captain America role. He hit's all the notes and brings a ton of laughs to this movie as well. I cannot recommend this film enough. A great family watch and just flat out fun, this strong entry in Rian Johnson's career is one I've watched three times now. I just can't get enough of this cool and clever murder mystery. Must watch.

Andrew liked these reviews