Movie Review: Knives out

Starring many A-list actors, ‘Knives Out’ tells the story of a beloved crime novelist who was murdered on his birthday and how a detective solves the mystery of his death


When I go to the movies, one of my favorite parts is the trailers. You arrive early. You got your drinks and popcorn, and then you get to see advertisements that you actually care about. One such ad that showed every time I went was “Knifes Out.” The trailer gives a very basic and some-what boring story of an investigator trying to figure out who murdered the rich guy. And yet, in this very basic plot, the trailer gives the audience quotes from other news outlets saying it’s the most entertaining movie of the year before it has even come out. Immediately, I needed to watch this movie. I was bitten by the Ad Bug. So I bought a ticket. Man, I think this is the first time someone said a movie is good, and then it is. Let me explain.
A more in-depth look at the plot, and it gets really interesting. “Knives Out” follows Marta Cabrera (Ana de Armas) and the Thrombey family. The family’s grandfather, Harlan Thrombey (Christopher Plummer), has just been found dead. Two detectives arrive along with a private investigator named Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig). Harlan was a very famous mystery writer with a large fontaine that everybody wants a piece of. Everyone has a secret to hide, but it’s not what you think.
First, the cast. It’s stellar. It’s got Chris Evans, Jamie Lee Curtis, Daniel Craig, Toni Collette, and many more ultra talented actors and actresses. They all have such good chemistry together, and I did not find much to complain about. Any choice that I thought was bad earlier made complete sense later. The mix of Hollywood A-List actors and smaller, lesser known ones was brilliant. Although I feel that some characters were not used as well or not as fleshed out as they should have. There were a few characters that I wished they would have done more with, just because what they did show was great. Or at least I wish they weren’t used just for furthering the plot. Because of this a few moments felt empty.
While it is a mystery, “Knives Out” succeeds at comedy as well. At times, it’s just downright hilarious. What makes it even better is that most of the actors have been from horror and action movies. It’s nice to see actors go out of their comfort zone and explore new territories. When it does get to the mystery part, they really excel. Right from the start I was interested in everything. The characters, the setting and the stories that were being told by the Thrombey family. I was hooked and needed to know more. And that’s what a good mystery is supposed to do. Most movies I see now fail to hook me in from the beginning and gets to the “good stuff” later. (Looking at you “Countdown.”) If I wasn’t interested early on, I would have been bored and less likely to enjoy it.
The whole “Clue” aesthetic was brilliant. Each character wore clothes that could be seen in an old crime noir film, like pea coats, long trench coats and ugly sweaters. The music is great with the sad violins and keeping the old fashion crime film atmosphere going.
The movie had a solid flow of events with minor interruptions. It starts off with a bang, giving audiences a kill and questions. Then it introduces each character individually with an interrogation scene that gave insight into each character’s background, as well as throwing you back to your childhood memories of playing “Clue” for the first time. You never have anything figured out until the very end when everything comes together. I had so much fun trying to figure out who the killer was, and when I thought I did it, I was jerked into another direction. It was confusing until the very end and it was done in the most entertaining way I can think of.
Speaking of confusion, I was a little confused on how this movie got away with a PG-13 rating. While I have no problem with ratings, in fact I think they’re pointless, they showed and said some things that no other PG-13 movie would dream of doing. If a movie has cussing in it, it can say the F-word once to be PG-13. “Knives Out” uses the F-word twice, and very blatantly, Chris Evans character says “eat s—” multiple times in the span of 10 seconds, and scenes suggesting graphic actions. It made me think about what kind of loopholes producers have to jump to get a lower rating.
One gripe I did have was the interrogation scene. This scene dragged on for what felt like half an hour. It introduces the characters and had a great atmosphere, but I don’t think it should have taken as long as it did. The other thing that bothered me was “Knives Out” failed to build up suspense. It was the one thing that was lacking. I can see how at times it had opportunities, but it fell flat most of the time. And it’s really disappointing to see such a good mystery lacking such a key component of the genre.
Despite those few gripes, “Knives Out” is a great film. It’s fun, daring, and it never gets old. While at the beginning I thought it would be boring, it was actually nice to see a throwback to whodunit films. It’s the kind of movie that gives you inspiration to write and create. You and your friends and family will be talking about “Knives Out” for months.