Knives Out

Knives Out ★★★

I might be hard on this movie the way I was with Ready or Not, a movie I owe all kinds of apologies after this as a much more lacerating attack on white upper class.

This is still a very fun and twisty mystery thriller that gets us wide-eyed with how wild the plots are and Daniel Craig is wonderfully charismatic (most of the cast is good but easily outshone by Craig). And while I don't think Steve Yedlin is doing anything he didn't already accomplish in Brick and Brothers Bloom, he's still doing it well.

I just wish it didn't feel so much like Johnson taking his longtime passion project and using it to grind an axe against people who don't like The Last Jedi with all kinds of instantly dated elements and a very smug political thoroughline that honestly feels no more committed or dense than in The Last Jedi (whatever issues I have with the Canto Bight detour, it is incredibly sincere in a way this movie never is). It exhausts me because, being an immigrant, I'm at the core of those issues and don't need to be thrown into my fears as a surprise every time I try to have a good time at the movies just to make white liberalism feel good (which this movie is). The Hamilton references, the role by Jaeden Lieberher that functions only to sit on a toilet while people identify him as a Nazi, it kills the fun for me. There's enough fun to keep going but it is fucking work, I tell ya.

In any case, between this and Jojo Rabbit, I wonder if this is what I'm gonna have to expect every time one of my favorite working filmmakers goes through the Disney machine: they lose their teeth, their cinematic personality, their moxie. Johnson and Waititi have disappointed me hardcore with their Disney products and hardcore with their after-Disney movies. I will pray to a God I don't believe in that Coogler has still got it.

At least my family had a great time.

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