This movie was a lot of fun. I went in with pretty high expectations considering the director and cast, to which it did not let me down. The 2019 murder mystery, directed by Rian Johnson, is a modern take on the classic genre. In most recent movies, the plot tends to be something predictable, or worse, full of twists and turns that make the audience roll their eyes. Knives Out lived in the happy middle where I didn’t know where it was going, but when it arrived, it didn’t feel unnatural or sudden. The only real problem this movie might have suffered from was the massive cast and the unfortunate case of underutilizing all of them.
The all-star group of actors was great to see together but I felt like more could have been done with them. Some audience members just showed up to the theater because of that massive movie poster with everyone. In reality however there were only really three main characters, three side characters, and a whole mess of high paid extras. I’m honestly skeptical to tell you who is who and which is which because it might skew the way you think about the movie going in and I don’t want to do that. This is a spoiler free review and I plan to keep that promise. I will say however that the members of the cast that were meant to be funny, were hilarious. The characters meant to be horrified and dramatic deserve an award. And the killer… well they did their job wickedly.
The reason I don’t want to mention too much about the cast is because of the story. It’s a murder mystery and so indicating what characters have more screen time changes the way a person watches the film. I liked it so much because of the fact I didn’t know what was going to happen; and I would like everyone to have that same feeling the first time it is watched. Rian Johnson proved he knows how to tell a story. This is not the first time he has taken a genre and elevated it’s soul in a new way; he did the same with ‘Looper’ and ‘The Last Jedi’. All that the audience knows going into the movie is that someone is murdered, the giant cast of colorful characters are all suspects and the unorthodox detective will solve the crime. It sounds like a movie we have all seen before however Knives Out did, which I haven’t seen in a long while, is treat the audience like adults. They knew you are going to make assumptions, jump to conclusions, and want a good twist. Rian and his team used that to make something new.
Again, I don’t want to say much about the actual events in the movie but it didn’t make me feel dumb for not knowing what was going to happen. There were so many clues and loose ends that the movie knew we are aware of, and it tied them all together in a nice, coherent, and well-timed manner. It was funny with it’s dark humor. The way the character’s interacted feels like a real family full of real people. The movie actually ended up being political in certain ways that weren’t preachy and slightly refreshing. I honestly loved this movie so it obviously survived The Snappening. But I will say this… If you are on the fence about seeing Knives Out in theaters, don’t. Instead, watch it at home with someone you like and trust. Pause the movie, talk about it, get on the same page and enjoy it out loud. There were so many times I wanted to say something in the theater about what I noticed or who I thought the killer was. Being a gentleman, I kept my mouth shut. But I think this is a “in the comfort of your own home” movie because it’s just more fun when you get to guess what’s going to happen and seeing if you can outsmart the killer/writers. That’s what Murder Mystery movies are all about.
Movie watched and review written by: Troy Smith