• Fri. Jun 21st, 2024

Knives Out – Rian Johnson Directs a Fantastic Murder Mystery!

Knives Out is directed by Rian Johnson. The film stars Daniel Craig, Chris Evans, Christopher Plummer, Jaeden Martell, Ana de Armas, Jamie Lee Curtis, Michael Shannon, Lakeith Stanfield, Frank Oz, Katherine Langford, M. Emmet Walsh, Noah Segan, K Callan, and Toni Collette.


Wealthy mystery author Harlan Thrombey dies under mysterious circumstances following his crowded 85th birthday party; prompting police to question those in attendance. Following a highly eventful and turbulent night, with many different interpretations of what happened; the police bring in a specialist, Southern detective Benoit Blanc. As the hours and the questioning goes by; it quickly becomes clear there’s more to the events at hand than meets the eye!

It’s hard to make a good murder mystery film, and not surprisingly, not many filmmakers even attempt them anymore. That’s part of the reason director Rian Johnson’s Knives Out comes as such a breath of fresh air. The movie combines a brilliant premise with an A-list ensemble cast, witty writing, a memorable setting, and everything in between. In fact, it’s one of my favorite movies of the year!

Knives Out movie image
Good things about the cast

Not enough good things can be said about the cast; who all prove they’re more than up for the acting a film like this requires. The cast includes Christopher Plummer as the ill-fated mystery author; Ana de Armas as his hired nurse; Chris Evans as a black sheep of the family fed up with his relatives; Michael Shannon as the man who runs his father’s publishing company; Daniel Craig as a detective pulling off his best Southern accent, and Jamie Lee Curtis as a real estate entrepreneur. There are also a handful of surprise appearances as well (where have you been all these years, M. Emmet Walsh?) Everyone is cast perfectly for their parts, and you’ll agree when you watch it. The chemistry and the back-and-forth banter between everyone gives the film a unique atmosphere.

Murder mysteries are nothing new, but they’re a rarity in the movie industry today; one of the many reasons I was so eager for Knives Out. The premise is simple yet has its share of red herrings, plot developments, intricacies; and reason enough to keep an eye on everyone. Everything builds on everything else, and you simply don’t know what direction the film will go in next. The plot twists are shocking and surprising, but always feel appropriate.

Old fashioned settings

The majority of the film is set in the old-fashioned Thrombey Mansion; which practically becomes a character in the movie unto itself, with its antique decor and striking setpieces. If you’re going to make a murder mystery movie, this is totally the setting to do it in.

The minor flaws holding the movie back are an overlong 130-minute running time; and a few too many characters to keep track of (Jaeden Martell of It fame; for example, feels more like a glorified cameo). These are issues which could have been remedied with tighter editing, but they certainly don’t ruin the film.

Needed for the audience!

Knives Out is something audiences have needed for a long time; and it’s fantastic to get a murder mystery for the first time in who knows how long; let alone one brilliantly directed, set, and acted alike. It’s one of the best times I’ve had at the movies this year; and if you’re in the mood for one, you’re bound to agree.

Rating: Three-and-a-half stars out of four.

DISCLAIMER: All images in this review are the property of their respective owners, including MRC, T-Street, and Lionsgate. For promotional use only. All rights reserved.

By Taylor T Carlson

Taylor T Carlson Assistant Editor/Senior Staff Writer Taylor T. Carlson was born August 17, 1984, and has called the Vegas Valley home his entire life. A die-hard fan of classic rock and metal music, Taylor has been writing album and concert reviews since he was 16 years old, and continues to do so, having done well over 1,000 reviews. He is also a fan of video gaming and cinema, and has reviewed a number of games and films as well, old and new alike. His thorough and honest (some would say brutally honest) reviewing style has won him the respect of hundreds of music fans and musicians alike, both local and abroad, and the ire of just as many others. Despite being one of the youngest attendees at classic hard rock/metal shows around Vegas, he is also one of the most knowledgeable, having gained the unofficial nickname of “The Eddie Trunk of Las Vegas.” In addition to reviews, Taylor has written and self-published three books on classic hard rock bands, and is a regular participant in rock and roll trivia contests. Taylor also holds a masters degree in special education from the University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV), and has appeared on the hit History Channel television series Pawn Stars. His dream is to be able to one day make a living from writing music books and reviews.

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