Knives Out Review

Rian Johnson's Knives Out succeeds on almost every level, with a great script, fine performances and a killer ending. Peter Gray reports.

Here is Peter Gray’s Knives Out review:

For a movie based on such a tired genre, Knives Out is surprisingly refreshing. Rian Johnson’s homage to the works of Agatha Christie is both witty and engrossing, with standout performances from Daniel Craig and Jamie Lee Curtis.

Johnson, who is best known for his work on the Star Wars movies, has taken the tried and tested murder mystery formula and cleverly and systematically inverted it, creating a thrill ride that twists and turns but never runs out of energy or ideas.

The movie begins with the apparent suicide of thriller writer Harlan Thrombey, the self made, multi millionaire patriarch of the Thrombey clan. Discovered in his room with his throat cut and a knife on the floor, it appears at first sight like an open and shut case. Nothing is quite as it seems in Knives out, however, and within minutes, cracks begin to appear in this seemingly simple picture of a domestic suicide.

Which partially explains why the legendary detective Benoit Blanc is sitting in the Thrombey living room, silently weighing up everything and everyone he sees. Blanc has no idea who hired him, however, the fact that someone hired him leads the dectective to believe that foul play has taken place. The question is what and who?

Blanc is not short of suspects. Practically everyone in Thrombey’s immediate family looks capable of homicide. There’s Harlan’s spiky daughter Linda, her right wing husband Richard, their “little shit” of a son Hugh “Ransom” Thrombey, Harlan’s embittered youngest son Walt, his step daughter Joni, and her progressive, left leaning daughter Meg. All of these people look like they would perfectly happily murder for fun, which makes working out which one actually did it twice as difficult.

I won’t spoil it for you, but let’s just say that Knives Out will keep you guessing. Johnson is said to have harboured a great affection for the work of Agatha Christie as a child, and this is evident here, as he spins a yarn full of ingenious twists and turns.

Performance wise, Daniel Craig is a revelation as the mysterious private detective whose slow, southern drawl hardly masks his quick wits. Craig is in his element here, giving a performance brimming with quirky charm. And even though the American accent should be his undoing, Craig pulls it off masterfully.

Toni Collette is excellent as the spacey Joni, with her Valley girl mannerisms and pretentious new age mantras. Jamie Lee Curtis is in fine form too as Linda Drysdale (nee Thrombey). Curtis perfectly captures the piece’s dry humour and subtle tone as the“self made” businesswoman who is to ashamed to mention the little starter loan which her father gave her to start her business.

A word on the setting for the movie. The Thrombey residence has so much character and charm that it almost functions as a character in itself. Choc a bloc full of secret passages, concealed entrances and macabre art works, the Knives Out house is the perfect physical embodiment for the darkly comic tone of the movie.

Knives Out is a murder mystery that radically inverts the tried and tested murder mystery formula while managing to up the thrills at the same time. The film succeeds on almost every level, with a great script, fine performances, impressive set design and a killer ending.

Knives Out is available to stream on all major platforms now. More information about the movie can be found here.

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-London's Best Events-
What: new movie to stream
When: out now
Where: Amazon, GooglePlay, Sky
Website: Knives Out