Knives Out Review: An Entertaining Star-Studded Whodunit

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“I suspect foul play. I have eliminated no suspects,” says private investigator Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) who’s helping the local authorities investigate the death of renowned crime novelist Harlan Thrombey (Christopher Plummer) in the murder mystery, Knives Out.

When the extremely wealthy novelist Harlan Thrombey is found dead at his estate following his 85th birthday, the local authorities are joined by the inquisitive and debonair detective Blanc to question all Harlan’s relatives who were in attendance at the party. After spending the day interrogating everyone, Blanc comes to the conclusion the patriarch’s death was not a suicide as first suspected but indeed a murder.

After catching almost every member of the family in lies and false statements – except for Thrombey’s personal nurse and caregiver, Marta Cabrera (Ana de Armas) – Blanc’s convinced one of them committed murder. But finding the killer will be challenging considering every single relative had a motive to want Harlan dead.

Clever, humorous, and smartly written, Knives Out is an entertaining whodunit that’s elevated by a star-studded cast. It’s like a live-action, big-screen version of the board game “Clue,” and in fact in many ways it feels similar to the 1985 live-screen adaptation of that popular game.

Daniel Craig is perfectly cast as the cultured and refined detective who very early on senses foul play and becomes determined to find the murderer. He delivers the best performance in the film.

Ana de Armas practically steals the movie as Marta, Harlan’s personal nurse who has become a true friend and confidant to the patriarch. Surprisingly, Marta becomes the main focus in the film and Blanc’s assistant in investigating the case.

The rest of the cast including Jamie Lee Curtis as Harlan’s daughter, Linda; Toni Collette as his daughter-in-law, Joni; Michael Shannon as his son, Walt; and Chris Evans as his grandson, Ransom, all portray colorful, quirky, and sometimes rude characters who fill out the suspect list.

Crafty, funny, and entertaining, Knives Out is an enjoyable new take on the classic whodunit genre.

GRADE: B

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for thematic elements including brief violence, some strong language, sexual references, and drug material

Running Time: 130 minutes

Release Date: November 27, 2019

Written and Directed By: Rian Johnson

Studio: Lionsgate




Kevin Finnerty

Professional film critic since 2003 and a member of the San Diego Film Critics Society. Host of “The Movie Guys” radio film review show from 2007 through 2013. Film and television critic for Showbizjunkies.com and a movie buff since 1973.
Kevin Finnerty
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