Knives Out is written, produced and directed by Rian Johnson. Described as a modern take on the whodunit murder mystery genre, the film follows a family gathering gone horribly wrong, after the family patriarch’s death leads a master detective Benoit Blanc to investigate.
There’s no messing around, within 5 minutes, straight after the opening credits, the body is discovered – 85 year old author, Harlan Thrombey (Christopher Plummer), but how he died we’re yet to discover and can only assume something is afoot.
As well as Christopher Plummer this film has a big cast, a true ensemble piece. Daniel Craig, Chris Evans, Ana de Armas, Jamie Lee Curtis, Michael Shannon, Don Johnson, Toni Collette, Lakeith Stanfield, Katherine Langford, Jaeden Martell, Riki Linhome and Frank Oz, who in the main play their parts very well.
We’re introduced to each of Harlan Thrombey’s family in a series of individual interviews conducted by the local police department, who need to tie up the loose ends of what they assume is a clear case of suicide, however they are accompanied by Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig), a private detective hired by an anonymous client to take the case on.
With it being no secret that this story is directly inspired by Agatha Christie I couldn’t help but think that I had seen it all before – I had my suspect, I had the motive and it wasn’t too long before I was even shown how.
But although it seemed obvious and there was no real mystery, all was not how it first appears.
Benoit Blanc enlists the help of Harlan Thrombey’s nurse Marta Cabrera (Ana de Armas) to solve the case, who weirdly is unable to tell a lie without throwing up. This is probably one of the most ridiculous things of the whole story, but the scenes with the both of them collecting evidence are the most enjoyable.
The film doesn’t like to hide things for too long, almost scared you might lose interest if they don’t reveal the secrets quick enough, but it’s funny, doesn’t take itself too seriously and at some points turns into pure pastiche. There are nods to all the classic detectives – Columbo, Sherlock Holmes, Poirot, Jessica Fletcher and probably a load more that I didn’t even notice.
Without giving too much of the plot away the real villain may as well have it tattooed on their forehead. I didn’t care though and just liked it all the same. I think my fellow cinechatters felt the same.