Knives Out ★★★★½

86

What I find most invigorating about Rian Johnson's work isn't his adept knack at subverting the status quo of the genre template, but how he finds himself lost in the mechanics of said world. Watching Brick, Looper, or even the blockbuster tendencies of The Last Jedi provides an innate understanding of what he loves as a fan of the work in question, in addition to his own thrilling developments as a storyteller. Knives Out begins as a handsomely-mounted, tantalizing murder mystery, but it soon finds itself wrapped up in the divisions of class and the falsities of the uber-rich, all while never losing sight of its traditional 'whodunit' pleasures. Many detractors are labeling this as 'Online' and 'cringe-y', but Rian Johnson has a pulse on America's tendency, whether on social media or in the clusters of familial dynamics, to ultimately lose sight of sturdy political objectives in favor of echo chamber argumentation. At the end of the day, the rich are staying rich, and when the family's money is threatened, their party of choice falls by the wayside. The solidarity is rooted against those who will most definitely have ramifications from this presidency, and this late-stage of capitalism. Rian Johnson dissects that class disparity, that detachment from civility of real-life consequences, and has an A-game cast backing up his often magical whiplash plotting and eye for theatrics. Daniel Craig and Ana de Armas are the standouts, but they all find a place to shine, and this movie is truly a blast and a half, recoiling somewhat from Johnson's TLJ backlash but mostly barreling forward as a supreme auteur vision of acidic wit and often ingenious twists and turns. Can't wait to bundle up with this and Clue on a stormy night.

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