Knives Out ★★★½

some nice stuff first, because i think rian johnson is a(n uncut) gem: i thought the story and dialogue were wonderfully detailed! daniel craig’s foghorn leghorn accent was a delight! my theory that you can pepper toni collette into any movie and it will instantly improve has once again been verified!

ok, now the Main Grievance:
for a mystery that prides itself on being clever and subversive, the character of marta sure does rely irritatingly heavily on the “perfect immigrant” trope? 

are we supposed to believe that (prior to the inciting incident) she’s not constantly upset about the way her wealthy white employers treat her and talk shitty politics in her presence? especially considering how smart and unbelievably sensitive she is??? you can be a “good” person and still express righteous anger at the hierarchies that keep you powerless (see: PARASITE). what if marta had even the slightest hint of antiheroine in her? what if she hadn’t been explicitly written as a “legal” immigrant? would the centrist white audience have felt alienated? good. they should. as bikini kill sang, “🎶i’m so sorry if I'm alienating some of you/your whole fucking culture alienates me🎶

the punk in me thinks that if you’re gonna make a movie with explicitly political themes right now, it should have shit to really say. i feel like my centrist dad is gonna watch this and feel validated for his flawed and obtuse belief that if immigrants would just “follow the law“ and come over “legally” then everything would be fine. but if he’d read one single book instead of only the local right-leaning newspaper, he’d know that the law has historically and currently been CORRUPT AS HELL and CLEARLY DOESN’T WORK!

so yeah, ana de armas gives a spectacular performance, but the character of marta as written is just, at least to me, neither authentic nor complex nor compelling? and i know, i know, that’s part of the satire — no one in this whole thing is an authentic/complex character, and that’s perfectly fine — but i think that the protagonist probably should be!

(notice how many times i reiterated that this is my personal and subjective opinion here, thanks! if you found marta to be authentic cool i respect it but it ain’t me)

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