Rating: Yeah, I’ll give this a strong B+
Basically: Pretty clever, pretty funny.
Summary: Daniel Craig is called to solve a murder mystery.
It’s been an interesting year when it comes to ratings. I’ve definitely been inflating them due to a not-so-great year and it’s come down to “I was engaged” vs “I got bored,” as well as creativity vs reboot/remake/familiarity kind of thing. I don’t know if Knives Out compares to other recent mystery movies like Bad Times at the El Royale, but it was hella good compared to some other schlock.
Like Baby Driver was with chase and heist movies, Knives Out is a loving homage to murder mysteries. It’s admirably not copy-and-paste, reversing the typical plot while poking fun at the genre and celebrating the things we enjoy from it. This time, we’re presented with an unintentional murder, with the detective working his case and the guilty culprit trying to figure out who set them up. Instead of us trying to figure out whodunit, we’re trying to figure out the why and how.
We’ve had a lot of loud stuff this year, lots of location changes, checkpoints, etc., that kind of thing. Unless it’s a road-trip or fugitive-type movie, I think lots of location changes signify an easy way to move the plot along, to force characters to go somewhere instead of utilizing dialogue to get to the next point. Hobbs & Shaw, Aquaman, most Bond movies, hell- even Bohemian Rhapsody- they do this. Knives Out is pretty much the exact opposite- it’s extremely contained, very chatter heavy, almost claustrophobic or cabin fever-ish in a way. Not every line or action needs to be analyzed, though it’s obvious which ones will be referenced later on and even better- they’re revisited in a fairly unexpected manner. I’d definitely like to give this another go and see where certain clues might have been. Visually, I don’t know if you have to see this on a big screen and it might actually look better on television, but I’m glad I put money towards this.
It’s thanks to the cast dymanics that this movie is so damn entertaining. I won’t lie- it’s fun seeing rich entitled people get picked on and bicker over shenanigans, especially when one is a hybrid Gwenyth Paltrow-Instagram Influencer-type. Daniel Craig (who I like in most non-franchise things) leads an all-star cast with shout outs to Christopher Plummer as our victim (mostly because he’s always grumpy in real life but pulls off the doting father aspect so well here). And the biggest win goes to Ana de Armas, who is a relative newcomer to the mainstream scene but will soon be everywhere thanks to this and that new Bond movie next year. It’s well deserved.