Knives Out Review

Valerie Herbert

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“The family is truly desperate. And when people get desperate, the knives come out.” -Detective Benoit Blanc

Knives Out is truly a “Whodunit” story. It is filled with family greed, scandal, revenge and a kind-hearted main character. Rian Johnson presents a well-crafted, meticulous and intriguing story that kept me on the edge of my seat. Rian Johnson is always one step ahead of the audience. Once you think you have figured out who committed the crime, another twist to the quest arises.

The story begins with the housekeeper finding Harlan Thrombey (Christopher Plummer), a wealthy and successful mystery author, dead in his study with his throat slit by a dagger. The police claim it is suicide. One detective, however, is hired anonymously to investigate the situation because of signs of foul play. The members of the Thrombey family appear to be especially suspicious after being interviewed. 

The many members of the family include Linda Drysdale (Jamie Lee Curtis), her husband Richard Drysdale (Don Johnson) and their dreadful son Ransom (Chris Evans). Walt Thrombey (Michael Shannon) is Harlan’s youngest son and is in charge of his father’s publishing company, but is always trying to force his father into looking at ways to make more money off of his books. Joni Thrombey (Toni Collette) leeches off of her father-in-law’s wealth, claiming she is supporting her daughter’s education; in fact, she is stealing thousands of dollars from right under his nose.  

Each member of the household seems to have the motive necessary to murder the famous author. However, one person sticks out: Harlan’s nurse and friend, Marta (Ana de Armas), who is the heart and soul of the story. Marta is the only person not to have a motive or anything to gain from his death. Throughout the film, Marta aids the anonymously hired Detective Blanc (Daniel Craig) in figuring out this puzzling situation. 

Although there is a large ensemble cast, all of the actors put their best foot forward in portraying their characters. Daniel Craig delights us with some humor as he articulates a long Southern drawl. Each time there is a new piece to the puzzle, his enthusiasm and passion for solving the mystery fill the screen. 

His thought process is just as entertaining as his accent. “We must look a little closer. And when we do, we see that the doughnut hole has a hole in its center. It is not a doughnut hole, but a smaller doughnut with its own hole and our doughnut is not holed at all!” 

I instantly fell in love with Marta. Her kindness and ability to stay within reality amidst all of the chaos makes it easy to empathize with her. Her drive to make things right and protect the people she respects captivated me throughout the entire film. 

Each hidden clue and dramatic twist and turn kept me guessing and drawn into the world of mystery. I was impressed with each performance of the cast even if some of them had a brief time on screen. I thought I had figured out “Whodunit” but was completely wrong. In conclusion, I would recommend this film to everyone, even if they are not mystery lovers.