Andrea’s Angle | “Knives Out”: Killer Cast

I was excited for this film as soon as I watched the trailers. One of the reasons was the cast but the trailers that I watched made the film look incredibly fun. It reminded me of one of my favorites, Clue and I couldn’t wait. The film was a beautiful homage to all the best elements of whodunits and mystery movies, was riotously funny, and the mystery was a blast.

 

Written, directed, and produced by Rian Johnson, Knives out is a wonderful take on the murder mystery genre with an ensemble cast that includes Daniel Craig, Chris Evans, Ana de Armas, Jamie Lee Curtis, Michael Shannon, Don Johnson, Toni Collette, Lakeith Stanfield, Katherine Langford, Jaeden Martell, and Christopher Plummer. The film follows a family gathering gone awry, wherein the family patriarch, successful mystery writer, Harlan Thrombey (Christopher Plummer) has apparently committed suicide. All of this leads a master detective, Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) to investigate. With the aid of Marta Cabrera (Ana De Armas), Harlan’s caretaker, Blanc delves into the family to find out who might have had motive to kill Harlan on his 85th birthday.

What makes me love a mystery film is the red herrings, the clues, and the characters. This film is packed with all of the right elements. We get the mystery immediately and clues unfold right from the start as the police investigate the seeming suicide of the patriarch further. As each character is pulled in for an interview, the family drama and the skeletons unfold. And while the detective appears to miss certain key clues, the audience does not as you follow the drama only to have the story twist and turn in unexpected ways. And while Marta is tasked to help Benoit, she isn’t ruled out as a suspect. It is a whodunit of epic proportions. And as a viewer, you can’t fail to enjoy the ride.

 

Part of what makes the film so much sheer fun is the layering of nods to the classic mystery novels or films along the way. Clue directly referenced but the style of the mystery is very Agatha Christie. The character of Benoit is played as an offshoot of Hercule Poirot mixed with Columbo, right down to his coat. The film has spades of other references but ultimately, what makes me love it the most is the humor, so reminiscent of Clue.

This film would not be anywhere near as good without the cast. This is an incredible line-up and while it would be easy to miss a character in the ebb and flow of the film, each actor brings their character to life, each quirky and unique and each full of secrets being kept from the family. Ana De Armas and Daniel Craig are each spectacular in the roles. Ana shines as Marta shows her intelligence and strength in the face of the challenges thrown her way. Daniel Craig is remarkable as Benoit, from his accent to his subtlety detecting in the movie. Chris Evans is hilarious as Ransom, Harlan’s grandson, an opportunity for him to play a character so different and do so stunningly. Jamie Lee Curtis, Michael Shannon, Don Johnson, Toni Collette, and Christopher Plummer all are interesting and amazing in their roles but I really didn’t expect less. Even the younger actors Lakeith Stanfield and Katherine Langford are compelling and engaging. The entire cast injects the movie with the perfect comedy moments.

There is some predictability to the movie. If you are an expert level at whodunits, you may put together the clues and figure out the solution but you will certainly enjoy the ride.

Even with my ability to figure out whodunit, I loved this movie. It was full of action, mystery, red herrings, and the best elements of mystery movies. It is a classic whodunit with a modern cast that brings laughs and if you love mysteries, you will love this film.

Rating: 4.5 red herrings out of 5.
@KnivesOut


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