They just don’t make them like this anymore.
Knives Out harkens back to old-school movies like Clue and Murder by Death. It’s a thrilling, star-studded, and subversively political whodunnit from the mind of a first-class filmmaker.
When the uber-rich Thrombey family’s patriarch, Harlan (Christopher Plummer), dies under not-so-suspicious circumstances, their world descends into chaos. Harlan’s will cuts his family out of his lucrative estate and leaves everything to his caregiver Marta (Ana de Armas). But the world’s greatest detective, Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig), arrives on the scene and calls Harlan’s death into question. It turns out, someone staged his suicide, and a murderer lurks somewhere in the Thrombey’s midst.
With the family fortune at play, any one of their despicable, self-entitled, narcissistic tribe is capable of knocking the old man off. And it looks like Marta, the family outsider, is the key to discovering the guilty party(s).
Writer-director Rian Johnson uses the mystery genre as an entry point to explore the nature of greed, privilege, and entitlement. The script does an excellent job contrasting the star-studded cast of self-centred and oblivious Americans with the selfless and empathetic caregiver Marta – who just so happens to be a POC haunted by the threat of immigration.
Knives Out, with its winking style of humour, at times, borders on satire. But by the film’s end, Johnson’s love and respect for the genre bursts through loud and clear. You will be hard-pressed to find a better popcorn flick in theatres this year.