When the famous mystery writer Harlan Thrombey (Christopher Plummer) is found dead in his home, legendary detective Benoit Blanc is brought in to investigate. But in order to do so, Blanc will have to deal with Harlan's extremely dysfunctional family, all of whom are potential suspects. And the only person who can help him sort through all the madness is Harlan's nurse, Marta (Ana de Armas).
Rian Johnson's crack at a murder mystery is undoubtedly some of the best fun you'll have at the cinema in 2019. It takes the classic whodunnit and dials things up to eleven. Thanks to a superb script and some fantastic performances - even Christopher Plummer gets time to shine through flashbacks - Johnson's take on the world-class detective is introduced to what is possibly the world's most dysfunctional family, a myriad bundle of mysteries even without Harlan's death. They're the type of people that many would try to avoid, especially in public. But in this case, watching them go at each other is pure joy. As they lie, cheat and stab each other in the back, you will inevitably despise them, and you'll love every second of it!
Seeing this all play out through Marta's eyes provides a very candid look at the family and their situation. Ana de Armas is the perfect choice for Marta, she brings a sense of innocence and sincerity to the role. But a mystery would be nothing without someone to solve it, and Daniel Craig is superb as the eccentric Blanc - like all great detectives, you never really know what he's thinking. He nails all of the quirky behaviours - what he refers to as his "process" - watch out for a scene where he sings along to music in the car. And that southern accent, well he's almost literally chewing the scenery, and looks to be loving every minute of it! De Armas and Craig work really well together, there's a kind of awkward chemistry between them. It'll be interesting to see them collaborate again on "No Time To Die", where they will both be playing wildly different characters.
Johnson masterfully choreographs all this madness - most of which takes place in this grand house filled with souvenirs and trinkets from Harlan's novels. Drawing inspiration from a wide variety of murder mystery styles, he is able to put his own unique spin on the genre. Even with all of the family drama, Knives Out ticks along at a reasonably fast - but steady - pace. It gives the movie a sense of urgency, of the pressure that all these characters are under, and the tension it causes between them. You are drawn into their world, and the movie doesn't let go until it's over. Johnson is even clever to make those outside the family (Marta, Blanc, the cops, even the audience) feel like outsiders, like they're just visiting that world. It is a shame then that with pretty much all of the investigating falling to Blanc, the cops (Lakeith Stanfield, Noah Segan) aren't really left with much to do other than facilitate him. That said, could Knives Out be the first of a new series following the investigations of Benoit Blanc? If that is the case, it can only work with Rian Johnson and Daniel Craig's continued involvement.
Rian Johnson delivers a tense and exciting whodunnit with Knives Out. If the mystery doesn't draw you in, the deliciously self-centred characters will. But will we see more of the great Benoit Blanc? I certainly hope so!
What did you think of Knives Out? Would you like to see more mysteries for Benoit Blanc to solve? Leave a comment below or find us on Facebook and Twitter. You can also email us at email@example.com