American car designer Carroll Shelby and driver Ken Miles battle corporate interference, the laws of physics and their own personal demons to build a revolutionary race car for Ford and challenge Ferrari at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1966.
A charismatic New York City jeweler always on the lookout for the next big score, makes a series of high-stakes bets that could lead to the windfall of a lifetime. Howard must perform a precarious high-wire act, balancing business, family, and encroaching adversaries on all sides, in his relentless pursuit of the ultimate win.
When renowned crime novelist Harlan Thrombey (Christopher Plummer) is found dead at his estate just after his 85th birthday, the inquisitive and debonair Detective Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) is mysteriously enlisted to investigate. From Harlan's dysfunctional family to his devoted staff, Blanc sifts through a web of red herrings and self-serving lies to uncover the truth behind Harlan's untimely death.Written by
A great and surprisingly funny murder mystery like no other
Probably the best film I have seen this year and one of the most memorable theatrical experiences I have ever had seeing it at its world premiere at TIFF. Thanks to the success of his previous studio film, The Last Jedi, Johnson gets to create a passion project that is so desperately needs to be seen in theatres.
Johnson shows his love for the murder mystery genre but avoids falling into its predictable plot mechanics. The opening of Knives Out sets the table of what you would expect from this kind of premise on paper. The death of the celebrity author Harlan Thrombey (Christopher Plummer) brings in all the family members seeking the opportunity to selfishly claim his inheritance and the strange circumstances of his passing calls in private investigator Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) to solve the case. But once most of the character archetypes are established within the first act, Johnson allows his originality as a filmmaker to take over. From they're the perspectives shift and the twists elevate the story in a direction that is refreshing and surprisingly really funny. The humor becomes unrelenting and infectious, as everyone in the theatre could not hold back the laughter, with Johnson playing on genre's tropes and being meta about it.
Johnson lets each of the cast members have fun and stand apart from one another with each playing really dynamic and complex character he has written. Chris Evans just relishes in playing the ruthless and yet complex grandson Ransom and doesn't hold back on spitting insults to anyone including his own family members. Michael Shannon plays a role slightly less antagonistic and more pathetic as youngest son Walt who gets no respect from his family. Jamie Lee Curtis continues to be a force of charisma to watch as the eldest daughter Linda. Even smaller but no less significant roles like Noah Segan and Lakieth Stanfield are also worth calling out.
While Daniel Craig may get top-billing in the poster, the movie completely rest on Ana De Armas to carry the story and serve as the audience's perspective into this world. As Harlan's nurse Marta, she shows how isolated and alone she feels with the rest of Thrombley family despite they pretend to have her best interest. But as the plot progresses, De Armas gets to show range including some unexpected comedic moments and becomes more of a pivotal role in the mystery.
Daniel Craig gives full commitment to his over-the-top character. Craig as Blanc gets some of the best and most hysterical lines as he spout bizarre and confusing analogies in a super-thick Southern accent. He strikes a good balance of intelligence and hysterical as a man who is very perceptive of people's intention but also being really exaggerated and ridiculous in a good way.
Similar to what he did with the Star Wars franchise in the Last Jedi, Johnson brings in social political commentary into a very old and tired genre to make if feel relevant. In this case, he uses the Thrombey family dynamic to tackle issues on the wealth of the 1%, immigration and self-entitled privilege. In the opening interview, Harlan's adult kids and in-laws all say they believe that each of their successful careers come from hard work despite flashbacks reveal they leech off of Harlan's own self-earned wealth and celebrity name. And with Marta coming from an immigrant family and being Harlan's personal nurse, the Thrombey's keep acknowledging subtly and (unsubtly in a heated family argument about politics) her lower status in society to boost their ego even they think it comes from a sense of sympathy. The oblivious nature and lack of wokeness most of the family retains (particularly with Don Johnson's and Toni Collete's characters) shows how much they have been too sheltered in their own rich bubble that creates a lot of great satirical humour.
Regardless if you liked or disliked The Last Jedi, are fan of Rian Johnson in general as a filmmaker or just love the murder-mysteries in film, Knives Out is a big crowd pleaser that uses its huge big name cast to full efficiency. Just when you think you have the plot figured out, it adds twists upon twists that don't dragged down the story but elevate. Once it comes out in nation-wide theatres, see it as soon as you can.
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