Knives Out ★★★

"What were the words overheard by the Nazi child masturbating in the bathroom?"

Less of a whodunit and more of an unraveling of a disgusting, self-centered family that are saturated with their own secrets, Rian Johnson's mysterious 'Knives Out' is nowhere near as fantastic as the reviews are making it out to be but it's still intriguing and engaging in its setup of clues and the inner destruction of an upscale family due to their massive egos and self-centeredness, all wrapped up inside of a big, glorious mansion, with a beautiful orchestral score by Nathan Johnson that has an elusive hint of mystery to it and a fantastic ensemble cast that sadly doesn't share enough runtime between the more interesting characters, instead focusing mostly on Ana de Armas' Marta, which was surprising given the trailers. It has its moments and a few twists and turns and laughs throughout, with each character really chewing the scenery and feeling larger than life.

I had hoped a majority of the film would be centered around Daniel Craig's skillful private eye Benoit Blanc, who is charming and seemingly friendly, while also sporting a laughably bad southern accent. Even though the "mystery" is unveiled at the end of the first act, it's somehow still fascinating as we see the facade of these characters slowly crumble and Blanc move closer and closer to unveiling the conspiracy or ruse at hand, helped in huge part by the script. Most of these characters are suspiciously foul in their own rights, making the stakes interesting as you're unable to tell who's truthful or genuine in their rare moments of kindness. All in all, it's not one of the best films of the year for me but I had low expectations for this one and it turned out to be much better than I was expecting.

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