Knives Out - Movie Review

Knives out cast
Knives out cast(Knives out)
Updated: Dec. 12, 2019 at 7:47 PM EST
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Every cast member in the film Knives Out is having a great time, and the audience is also. Written and directed by Rian Johnson, this comedy, mystery thriller has one of the best ensemble casts to hit the big screen in a while. Venerable Oscar winner Christopher Plummer is Harlan Thrombey, the wealthy patriarch of a greedy, ungrateful family, who are counting the days until he dies so they can, presumably get his fortune. However his death and the contents of his will are not as predictable as the vultures hope.

Plummer, who turns 90 on Friday, is terrific as usual, as the famous mystery novelist with a heart of gold, even though most people around him don’t deserve his generosity. He may need medication for a few medical ailments but his mind is still sharp as a tack. It’s easy to take his commanding and convincing presence for granted, but Plummer, is a superb film actor who says it all with his eyes. Cuban born actress Ana de Armas downplays her beauty and sexiness as Marta, Harlan’s loyal personal nurse and devoted companion. This is a star making vehicle for Armas, who has the most important female role in the film.

Jamie Lee Curtis, Don Johnson, Toni Collette and an unrecognizable Michael Shannon play Harlan’s offspring either by blood or marriage. Chris Evans, Katherine Langford and Jaeden Martell play his grandchildren. Chris Evans, who’s cable knit sweater in the film has been the talk of social media, has never been more attractive on screen. It’s clear from the beginning that his spoiled Ransom is up to no good, but Evans is so charismatic you might root for him anyway.

Daniel Craig sheds all of his Bond coolness for his hilarious turn as Southern detective hired to follow his instincts that something is amiss in the house. His accent is the bomb. It’s not his regional authenticity we admire, but the boldness of “what-the-hell is he doing with his voice” that is audience thrilling. Craig should do more comedy, he has much more versatility than most people think.

If you like mysteries that twist and turn loaded with great characters, you won’t find better entertainment than Knives Out. Its attention to story and dedication to the whodunit genre is akin to fealty. It unfolds like a great old style Agatha Christie story or play, but paced and executed with a 21st Century eye. It really is a blast.

I was disappointed to see that when the SAG nominations came out yesterday that the ensemble wasn’t nominated. Then again, it isn’t important subject matter and the work this fun cast does seems effortless as if they were fun, hip party guests.

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