When Director Rian Johnson sprinted across the stage at the Toronto International Film Festival to introduce Knives Out, the audience knew to buckle their seat belts for the enthusiastic murderous ride!
On the morning after his 85th birthday party, wealthy crime novelist Harlan Thrombrey (Christopher Plummer) is found dead on his estate. Famed Southern detective Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) is on the case and suspects everyone of foul play. When Marta (Ana de Armas), Thrombrey’s South American caregiver, finds herself embroiled in the mystery through a surprising inheritance, it becomes clear that no secrets are safe within the household — not even hers.
Knives Out was giving me elements of Hitchcock (Deathtrap) mixed with Agatha Christie (Murder on The Orient Express) and a dash of Clue. Johnson is at the top of his game providing outrageously quippy dialogue that serves as hilariously eloquent material for a star-studded cast including Chris Evans, Jamie Lee Curtis, Michael Shannon, Toni Collette, LaKeith Stanfield, Don Johnson and Christopher Plummer — just to name a few. The audience is kept on their toes from the first frame to the last, as this tale weaves its way through twists and turns leading to a shocking conclusion you will never see coming.
The cultural murder mystery throwbacks infused like watching Angela Lansbury bang away at a typewriter during a rerun of “Murder She Wrote” on tv, dialogue referring to Clue board games or the constant digs at Trumpites and their unfounded, ignorant accusations against immigrants are all part of the reasons why Lionsgate will have a healthy hit on their hands with this one.
Ana De Armas is spectacular as Marta Cabrera and is literally the glue that holds the plot together second only to Daniel Craig, Jaime Lee Curtis and Chris Evans. One of my favorite scenes is one where Walt Thrombey (Michael Shannon) refers to his resources that will aid Marta and her family. Marta is real quick to slap that entitlement look off his face and out of his voice like a ton of bricks after he insists she return the inheritance to the ‘family.’ Se gently reminds him that those ‘resources now belong to her. It was nice to see Curtis return to her comedic roots, as well as, watching Evans be non-super hero like and cunning to get what he wants. The entire cast looked like they were having the time of their life while shooting and it shows with every scene and every character.
Overall, Knives Out pure fun from beginning to end and a popcorn crunching whodunit of the highest accord. Mystery, mayhem and murder never looked so good.