For his last movie, Rian Johnson created a film that divided the Star Wars universe. He took risks and changed a great many things. The pressure was on with Knives Out to redeem his credentials and turn out a film in a genre that is hard to make unique and enthralling. How did Rian do with his latest? Here’s my Knives Out Review.
Knives Out Review: Clue Meets SNL
The basic premise is obvious enough. Knives Out is a murder mystery, except its not, except it is. Confused? Wait til the get to the part about the donut holes! Rian does what he does best in movies such as Looper. He takes the obvious and makes it wrong, before making it the right thing about the wrong thing.
Rian keeps this murder mystery away from the generic, stereo-typed murder mystery. He keeps it fresh, entertaining and to a large degree, moving in ways that muddy the movie’s ending. Rian makes a movie that is just plain FUN!
Knives Out Review: Cast Seals the Deal
Murder mysteries often turn people away simply by their nature, but the advertising for this jaunt down murder lane depicts a star studded cast that comes across very entertaining. There are huge stars in this movie, but not just huge names. Take the most psychotic, over the top, maniacal role any of these actors have done before and one begins to get a sense of what they are like in this movie.
Daniel Blanc plays the lead private eye hired to solve the murder mystery. His super thick, over the top, KFC accent brings a funny umorous angle to the role. Then you add the dysfunctional Thromby’s (Jamie Lee Curtis, Michael Shannon, Don Johnson, Toni Collette, and Christopher Plummer) who create a family anyone would dread dealing with over the holidays. And Yes. Captain America is an asshole!
Why Is This Like SNL?
Earlier I compared this to Clue crossed with Saturday Night Live (80’s/90’s when it was good). This is because Knives Out is positively hilarious throughout, and it comes from every angle. The script contains clever wit. It may have felt out of place in Star Wars, but here is shines. Then there are moments where the humor comes not from the script, but from the actors themselves. Toni Collette embodies this. Her airhead nature plays perfectly off the detective and the rest of the family.
Chris Evans carries that Captain America charm still, but now he gets to let loose with witty lines as demonstrated in the trailers. There is just something about his charm combined with being a spoiled ass of a rich kid that causes people to smile.
Ana de Armas also does a wonderful job in the role of Marta, the elderly Thrombey’s care taker. I really can’t say much about her without spoiling anything, so I will say she carries the central role very well. She brings a subtle and quiet power.
Knives Out Review Final Thoughts: Johnson Still On a Roll
Rian Johnson is still on a roll. He brings such an entertaining and relentless humor to Knives Out that this movie soars. While I do not think it will be on any Oscar lists, it is that good. He dispels the early thoughts of what the movie is about, but then takes you on a ride that makes you wonder what the true nature of the movie is. Then you discover you were right about the concept, but not in the way you thought. It is what it isn’t even when it is what it is that isn’t what its not. Then you get to the donut holes!
Given how he handled this movie that he both wrote and directed, I want him to have his own Star Wars trilogy more than ever. Give him his own characters and free reign with plots and direction as well as free of preconceived notions, and he will create a thoroughly entertaining and twisted story.