Rian Johnson Has “Knives Out” For Daniel Craig And Company, With Very Pleasing Results

Old fashioned murder mysteries clearly appeal to Rian Johnson. The filmmaker has an affinity for those long time entertainment staples, and it’s that affection that helps him so deftly sharpen and update the tropes in Knives Out, his fiendishly clever whodunit. With a star studded ensemble cast, strong writing, a total sense of play, and third act that truly comes alive, this movie has a lot going in its favor. For a while, you may wonder what all of the fuss is about, but by the time the credits roll, you’ll understand. It hits theaters tomorrow and is a fantastic option for any dysfunctional family on Thanksgiving.
The film is a crime dramedy/murder mystery, deftly mixing old school whodunit elements with a real new school approach. When famous crime novelist and family patriarch Harlan Thrombey (Christopher Plummer) is found dead following his 85th birthday party, the entire Thrombey clan is a suspect. Arriving at his sprawling estate, the one of a kind detective by the name of Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) has been hired to investigate the crime. He has no clue who has sent him an envelope of cash, but he’s determined to break the case. As he meets Harlan’s dysfunctional family, as well as his kindly staff, including his caretaker Marta Cabrera (Ana de Armas), suicide is initially suspected. However, motivations across the board keep Blanc poking around, and that’s where the fun really begins. The less you know about the actual plot, the better, especially since the discoveries, red herrings, and odes to the genre are such a delight. Rian Johnson writes and directs, with music from Nathan Johnson, as well as cinematography by Steve Yedlin. Making up the family are Toni Collette, Jamie Lee Curtis, Chris Evans, Don Johnson, Katharine Langford, Riki Lindhome, Jaeden Martell, and Michael Shannon, while other supporting players include Frank Oz, Noah Segan, LaKeith Stanfield, M. Emmet Walsh, and more.
Among the cast, Daniel Craig, Ana de Armas, and Chris Evans really stand out. For Craig and Evans, the sense of play here is infectious. There’s a clear joy on display, especially for Craig, with his southern accent. His slightly befuddling nature early on gives way to an ingenious bit of sleuthing by the time the climax is upon us. It may just be Craig’s best work to date. As for Evans, he’s just relishing a big character like this, someone as far from […]

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