Knives Out ★★★★★

"This is a twisted web, and we are not finished untangling it, not yet."

Crackling with a spirited originality made all the more pleasurable by the utter adoration for the narrative's influences, Rian Johnson's Knives Out is a whodunit for the ages; an irresistible, topical, and devilishly entertaining stroke of taut brilliance whose Christie-inspired roots find themselves simultaneously revered and rejuvenated with equal shades of Hitchcock, Columbo, and the filmmaker's genre-melding aptitude. The grasp on the assorted threads in play and their achievement by means of both frame and talent is genuinely extraordinary, making this mysterious matter of murder as tireless as it is faultless.

Johnson's expertise on the page and through the lens cannot be understated, abilities only bolstered by David Crank's jaw-dropping production design, the immaculate compositions of cinematographer Steve Yedlin, Bob Ducsay's tight editing, and an expectedly essential score from Nathan Johnson. Yet one mustn't forget the superb cast at the core of the thorny yarn itself. Daniel Craig delivers a potentially career-best turn as the Poirot-esque gentleman of Southern hospitality and unrivaled deductive genius, Detective Benoit Blanc. Accompanying the renowned private investigator is a cavalcade of unsuspecting unfortunates and apparent asshats, the outstanding likes of which include Ana de Armas, Chris Evans, Jamie Lee Curtis, Don Johnson, Toni Collette, Michael Shannon, and Christopher Plummer. Every performer absolutely revels in the vibrant material at hand, and each are dressed to a T thanks to Jenny Eagan's costuming .

Knives Out brims with an evident precision and sincerity indicative of the masterful artists at work. The film is yet another exceptional chapter for Rian Johnson, one that may be his most accomplished feat to date. It's a nimble, dynamic balancing act that managed to exceed every one of my already astronomical expectations. An assured gem of the genre and quite possible the best slice of the silver screen that I've seen all year. Suspenseful, swift, uproarious, and razor-sharp.

"A donut hole in a donut's hole..."

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