As a reader who’s unfamiliar with most of Agatha Christie’s novels, I didn’t come into Rian Johnson’s Knives Out with any expectations. I admired Johnson’s previous projects, including Looper and even parts of The Last Jedi. I’ve also heard of the buzz surrounding Knives Out during award season, but I never went out of the way to see in theaters. Now that the buzz has died down and the award season is behind us, I finally had the chance to sit down and watch Johnson’s take on the mystery genre, and it’s safe to say that he did a remarkable job.
Knives Out works because of its impressive cast and quirky tone. Leading the cast is Daniel Craig, who plays an outlandishly southern detective named Benoit Blanc. Blanc ins’t the most proficient detective ever to be seen on screen, but his dedication to solving the murder of wealthy mystery novelist Harlan Thrombey makes him admirable and somewhat likable. While he doesn’t make sure to block a trail of muddy footprints on the ground before a dog comes running and messing it up, he also doesn’t cross out any suspects immediately.
Production designer David Crank managed to make the Thrombey estate feel as if it came right out of a Agatha Christie novel. The old, creaky staircase, the wooden floors, the Victorian-esque design and even the fact that each character has their own separate room makes the Thrombey estate feel as if it should be part of the classic Clue board game. Speaking with Entertainment Weekly, Crank revealed that Johnson wanted the house to reflect Harlan Thrombey’s mind. While the house is old, it’s still worth something of value. Considering the motivation behind Thrombey’s murder, the Thrombey estate was the perfect setting for this story.
Like in any mystery murder film, there are twists and turns throughout the film to keep it interesting. Without giving much away, just when you think the murder is solved, Johnson spins the plot in a new, exciting direction. Knives Out is a delightful mystery murder film that’s both quirky and intriguing.
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