On the night of his 85th birthday party, celebrated crime fiction writer Harlan Thrombey (Christopher Plummer) commits suicide. But when the world famous sleuth Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) is hired to investigate he discovers things are more than they seem.
Knives Out is a throwback to an old fashioned murder mystery with plenty of wit thrown in for good measure. It features a large ensemble cast with even larger than life characters and is set mainly in a large mansion that features particularly outlandish furnishings and decoration. It screams meta at every turn and is a lot of fun.
The casting is all round superb and everyone of them puts in fantastic performances. Jamie Lee Curtis, Michael Shannon, Don Johnson, Toni Collette, Katherine Langford, Jaeden Martell, Riki Lindhome and Chris Evans make up the extended Thrombey family. Whilst Lakeith Stanfield and Noah Segan play the policemen working with Blanc. But the true lead of the film is Ana De Armas as Thrombey’s caregiver Marta Cabrera.
Armas performance is the emotional centre of the film and she becomes the unwitting sidekick to Blanc throughout. The fact that the family supposedly consider her one of their own but they can’t confirm which South American country she is from is one of the many great running gags in the film. Elsewhere Daniel Craig and Chris Evans are clearly having an absolute whale of a time. Craig has a glorious Deep South accent and has numerous idiosyncratic behaviours such as plonking piano keys as seen in the trailers. Whilst Evans, playing the black sheep of the family has a lot of fun insulting them all whilst wearing large knitwear.
And if all the murder mystery self reverential references aren’t enough it does have a very clever actual murder mystery at its core. Where the solution actually feels organic to the absurd situation and one that I suspect on further watches will present more clues to the outcome.
I loved it.