Author Topic: KNIVES OUT *NO spoilers*  (Read 133 times)

Offline perc2100

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KNIVES OUT *NO spoilers*
« on: December 02, 2019, 07:03:04 PM »
Writer/director Rian Johnson (LOOPER, BROTHERS BLOOM, BRICK) has crafted a wildly entertaining 'Whodunit' tale that's not only funny but incredibly well-crafted from the bottom up.  Johnson weaved a really tight story, with all the twists and turns you expect from the genre, that's stylish (but not over-the-top/attention-drawing) and well-shot.
And oh, that cast...swoon...

This is a genre fan's dream of a cast, all clearly having a blast.  We have family patriarch Christopher Plummer, the uber successful multi-millionaire mystery author, and his children: Jamie Lee Curtis (the 'self-made' businesswoman married to Don Johnson), Toni Collette (mom trying to put her daughter through school thanks to her dad's "allowance"), and Michael Shannon (who runs his dad's publishing company the way dad wants it run - and also has a Nazi kid).  Plummer's grandkids include America's Ass Chris Evans.
And that's just the main players of the family!

When Plummer's character is found dead of an apparent suicide, police (played by "Atlanta" and SORRY TO BOTHER YOU's LaKeith Stanfield as well as Rian Johnson favorite Noah Segan) give a courtesy to famous private detective Daniel Craig, who does his best New Orleans accent (or as Evans compares it to Foghorn Leghorn - to the youngins get that reference?!) who is paid by someone remaining anonymous to investigate the suicide as foul play.
Plummer's personal nurse, played well by Ana de Armas, factors heavily into the mystery, and does a LOT of the heavy lifting/acting in the film as maybe the only one in the house with a kind heart.  She must've dug working with Daniel Craig and she stars in the next James Bond film.  Her character has one of the quirkiest of character quirks I've seen in a Whodunit: one that's hilarious but Johnson uses effectively while wisely not over playing.
Naturally, every family member has a motive.

This film is a murder mystery in the tradition of Agatha Christie/Hercule Poirot classics: complete with misdirection and the classic "detective lays out the entire case pointing out the murderer for everyone assembled in the room" scene. None of this is a surprise to anyone who's ever seen a Whodunit, and of course the way Johnson leads us through his mystery is unique, intriguing, and entertaining.  I wouldn't say this film is a comedy, per say, but I laughed quite a bit.  This is definitely not dark, bloody, or expletive-laden.  Johnson didn't make a genre deconstruction, or some other clever post-modern reinvention: he made a great murder mystery.  This is a film that will naturally leave audience members trying to figure out the who, why, and how and I suspect some will likely figure out parts, or most, of the details.  But the fun of these movies lies with seeing how the director and screenwriter builds tension and mystery, and seeing if/how everything works in concert within itself.  In that aspect, Rian Johnson masterfully made a film that I think stand with the best Hercule Poirot mysteries.  And just like the best Agatha Christie movies and books, one doesn't need to feel as if they need to go back and rewatch to see if the aspects fit together (or if the director 'cheats' the details): Johnson lays everything out both throughout the movie, and in the end, so you leave the theater knowing everything.

Except maybe one thing: did Rian John BFF Joseph Gordon Levitt (who was in all of Johnson's films, same as Noah Segan, including THE LAST JEDI) make an appearance?!  Of course he did, but did you miss him while sitting back and enjoying a good mystery or did you see (or, maybe instead, hear) the famous actor (who played young Bruce Willis in the masterpiece LOOPER) play the detective?!  8)
« Last Edit: December 02, 2019, 07:33:39 PM by perc2100 »

Offline mark

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Re: KNIVES OUT *NO spoilers*
« Reply #1 on: December 02, 2019, 07:52:55 PM »
We really enjoyed this. Even if you figure out who did it (which I did for once, usually my wife calls it) the way it all comes together at the end is great.

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Re: KNIVES OUT *NO spoilers*
« Reply #2 on: Today at 02:48:45 AM »

Offline TardisMom

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Re: KNIVES OUT *NO spoilers*
« Reply #2 on: December 02, 2019, 07:57:52 PM »
Great movie, perfect for a family outing after a big meal :)

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Re: KNIVES OUT *NO spoilers*
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Offline lliving

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Re: KNIVES OUT *NO spoilers*
« Reply #3 on: December 03, 2019, 03:31:04 AM »
Awesome movie!  Things I loved: Daniel Craig’s southern accent, Chris Evans playing a spoiled trust fund kid. So many great performances.


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Offline perc2100

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Re: KNIVES OUT *NO spoilers*
« Reply #4 on: December 03, 2019, 08:27:36 AM »
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Great movie, perfect for a family outing after a big meal :)
While driving home from the movie, I was going through my mental contact list trying to find what friends wouldn't like this movie.  Often when I see a movie I think about "which friends is this particular movie their jam and which is it no."  For example, with MIDSOMMAR, I think there are not a ton of people I'm friends with (outside of my movie nerd circles) that I would recommend the film to.  My wife and I almost have opposite movie tastes, as she doesn't like horror at all, isn't interested in Sc-Fi, and isn't a fan of intense action movies.  She also doesn't like R-rated films with tons of bad language.  So there aren't a lot of movies we watch together (basically Star Wars and Marvel movies for the most part).  The vast majority of movies I enjoy and appreciate are no her cup of tea at all.

But KNIVES OUT?  I literally don't know anyone who wouldn't enjoy this film.  It's PG-13, and I don't recall any f-bombs (typically a PG-13 movie will have 1); there's no nudity, no real violence, and very little gore (save for one shot of the murder victim and one shot of the death scene).  The murder mystery is intriguing w/out being too complicated or heavy, the 'solutions' are fairly clever but not too subtle that one would miss a lot of the 'clues,' and the humor is broad enough for all to enjoy and not really a "dark comedy" movie (as I was expecting).  Rian Johnson really did make a great mainstream old-fashioned murder mystery.
All while delivering scathing commentary against entitlement and subtleish racism, no less (did you notice how many different countries the family members said Marta was from, even though it's clear she's born in America?  Also IIRC Marta never explicitly says where her mom is from).  Wonderful!!

I'm an unabashed Rian Johnson fan, and I've found myself struggling: do I want him to jump back into Star Wars to make an original trilogy that would essentially be original sci-fi in the SW universe, or do I want him to put that on hold and make another Benoit Blanc murder mystery?!  (really, I'd follow Johnson anywhere so I guess it doesn't matter too much)

Offline mark

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Re: KNIVES OUT *NO spoilers*
« Reply #5 on: December 04, 2019, 07:37:26 AM »
Came across the movie Infamous last night which came out the same year as Casino Royale, but just in case anyone wants more American accent Daniel Craig. Turns out he has a very nice singing voice.


Offline lborgia88

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Re: KNIVES OUT *NO spoilers*
« Reply #6 on: December 04, 2019, 09:05:08 AM »
I just saw it last night, and really enjoyed seeing James Bond and Captain America in some very different roles.  I've always enjoyed the classic murder mystery format, and this one was fun but also has an underlying social critique that reminds me  a bit of "Parasite," which I also saw recently -a wealthy family in a fancy house, with staff, murder, etc.

Offline perc2100

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Re: KNIVES OUT *NO spoilers*
« Reply #7 on: December 04, 2019, 09:07:19 AM »
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Came across the movie Infamous last night which came out the same year as Casino Royale, but just in case anyone wants more American accent Daniel Craig. Turns out he has a very nice singing voice.


Yeah his singing voice sounded at least serviceable in the KNIVES OUT scene when he was signing Sondheim (something from the musical "Follies" IIRC), silly as it may have been intended