Wednesday, 27 November 2019

Review: Knives Out

Knives Out
Cert: 12A / 130 mins / Dir. Rian Johnson / Trailer

Another pre-Christmas flick arriving with much anticipation*1 is Rian Johnson's Knives Out, a good old-fashioned, star-studded whodunnit murder mystery in the very best traditions of Agatha Christie but with a (12A-permissible) potty mouth. Heading up the cast list are Jamie-Lee Curtis, Toni Collette, Ana de Armas, Christopher Plummer, Michael Shannon, Chris Evans and Don Johnson, but it's Daniel Craig who really steals the show as sleuth Benoit Blanc (with his force of character being sequel-bait alone).

Now despite the many 'film of the year' plaudits I've seen so far, it's important to note that Rian Johnson is neither deconstructing nor reinventing the genre here; he's just having a load of intricate fun in the sandpit. Viewers versed in Christie's canon will feel instantly at home with something that's definitely an homage rather than a rip-off. The film never tries to be smarter than its audience, and that counts for a lot. You can spend your time trying to second-guess the outcome, or you can enjoy the two hours in the company of a cast and director who understand character-play through a viciously squabbling family full of potential murderers.

Lovely stuff.

So, what sort of thing is it similar to?
Ustinov-era Poirot tales.

Is it worth paying cinema-prices to see?
It is.

Is it worth hunting out on DVD, Blu-ray or streaming, though?
It is, although rewatch value will depend on how you approach this kind of thing.

Is this the best work of the cast or director?
With the very best will in the world, it's not.

Will we disagree about this film in a pub?
Possible but not likely.

Is there a Wilhelm Scream in it?
There isn't.

Yeah but what's the Star Wars connection?
Level 1: Yoda is in this, as is that gullible Stormtrooper. And obviously it was written and directed by the guy who made the most collectively-adored Star Wars movie of all time.

And if I HAD to put a number on it…

*1 Cineworld Unlimited advance-screening, and dear lord the casual cardholders were getting their money's worth with this one. The place was packed (which is a good thing), attracting as it did the type of patron who apparently pays for the card but doesn't use it very regularly so doesn't know how to behave in a cinema. The shuffling, the talking, the phones, the smell. Did I mention I don't like people? [ BACK ]

• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.
• Yen's blog contains harsh language and even harsher notions of propriety. Reader discretion is advised.
• This is a personal blog. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own thoughts (at the time of writing) and not those of the people, institutions or organisations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.

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