Knives Out

Knives Out ★★★★

A slick, funny, and genuinely awesome film by Rian Johnson. There are numerous great performances in Knives Out, particularly from Ana de Armas, Daniel Craig, and Chris Evans, but that's not to knock any of the supporting cast. It's a large, star-studded ensemble of actors and actresses fleshing out the Drysdale clan, and the movie, beyond simply executing a clever, enjoyable mystery, makes you want to see much more of this eccentric family.

That's both a strength and a bit of a weakness. Much of the family serves both to present a range of suspects and misdirect the viewer as well as function as performance appetizers to tide one over until the meat of the mystery is presented. But there are a lot of them, maybe too many. Each time Jaeden Martell popped up, I couldn't help but think "oh, he's in this!" as his role is just a sliver. Toni Collette is awesome and believable as a high-strung lifestyle coach/influencer/guru, and she sings in each scene she's in, but the movie swiftly does away with her. Michael Shannon and Jamie Lee Curtis are equally fantastic, playing juicy, believable roles as the damaged and enabled children of the late Harlan Thrombey (Christopher Plummer). Curtis's character's self-made fortune that was enabled by a "small loan of a million dollars" is beyond timely. Hell, most of the movie is just that. I am surprised director Johnson didn't have Martell's character rant a bit about how feminists ruined Star Wars.

It's a frustrating film in that regard. I could see this movie spun out into a mini-series. The characters are well fleshed out archetypes, a bit hammy but very believable and incredibly entertaining.

The humor worked for me. There are a number of gags and reoccurring jokes I came to enjoy. I had no idea Daniel Craig could be so funny.

Outside of that, my only issue is how long certain segments are, and how short others are. Certain plot points are glazed over rapidly, and others are lingered on. The initial set up is long, trading a swifter pace for longer bouts of character moments. Ultimately, it works, but one can't deny how the movie progressively speeds up to cram in its ultimate reveals.

Incredibly entertaining and well put together. Could not get over how detailed and dynamic this film felt.

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