Knives Out (2019)

knives out poster 2019 movie
8.5 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Acting : 9/10
Visuals: 9/10

Fun mystery thriller that plays with some of the conventions, good cast

A few obvious clues given if you are paying attention

Movie Info

Movie Name: Knives Out

Studio: Media Rights Capital

Genre(s): Mystery/Suspense/Comedy

Release Date(s):  September 7, 2019 (Toronto International Film Festival)/November 27, 2019 (US)

MPAA Rating: R

knives out murder christopher plummer

Suicide or murder most foul?!?!

Fran (Edi Patterson) arrives at work to find her boss…acclaimed mystery writer Harlan Thrombey (Christopher Plummer) dead of an apparent suicide after his eighty-fifth birthday party.  The police (Lakeith Stanfield and Noah Segan) become involved and they find themselves aided by a hired famed detective named Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig).  Harlan might not have committed suicide and might have been murdered.  It seems that everyone in Harlan’s family has a motive for murder.  Benoit Blanc enlists the aid of Harlan’s medical assistant Marta Cabrera (Ana de Armas) who has a perchance for vomiting when lying to help him in his research.  Who was holding the knife?

Written and directed by Rian Johnson, Knives Out is a mystery-suspense comedy film.  The movie premiered at Toronto International Film Festival and received positive reviews.  It received an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Screenplay.

knives out benoit blanc daniel craig knife chair

I do declare…’tis a mystery!

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not a big fan of Rian Johnson…even his acclaimed movies.  I liked the concept of Brick but didn’t like the execution, I found Looper overrated, and the debate about a certain space fantasy saga entry has already been discussed at length on the internet.  I say this because I genuinely liked Knives Out.  Due to the fact that the film is a mystery, a ******spoiler alert****** is in effect for the rest of the review.

I will say that I’m a sucker for a mystery.  The movie (intentionally) has a lot of mystery tropes, and it takes a Columbo approach about midway through the mystery by appearing to reveal the mystery which leads to a cat-and-mouse type of film.  This is obviously not the case because of the tone of the movie, but Rian puts a lot of layers into the movie.  I felt there were a few too obvious clues at points (aka barking dogs, fake knives references, etc.), but for the most part the mystery keeps trucking and twisting.

knives out morphine vials marta ana de armas


It is primarily an actor film with a great ensemble cast.  Daniel Craig plays the stereotypical detective complete with a thick Southern drawl…he knows all the answers and knows the game.  I have seen very little of Ana de Armas, but I felt she did a great job holding her own amongst a group of powerhouse actors.  Jamie Lee Curtis is stony as the character who is maybe relatively innocent in the whole case while her husband Don Johnson is the typical skuzzy guy.  Toni Collette continues to morph herself and I like Katherine Langford as the only member of the family with no real guilt tied to her.  Chris Evans tries to reverse his shiny Captain America appearance and Michael Shannon continues to prove he’s a great actor.  Christopher Plummer is one of the great actors who does a lot with his few scenes and I even like the smaller sidelined role of Lakeith Stanfield as the detective who has to bow to Craig.  It was also nice to see Frank Oz and M. Emmet Walsh in roles.

knives out cast

…and the killer is? (drum roll)

The movie is stylish and that is one of the better aspects of Rian Johnson’s work.  I do think he has a vision, but I often feel that he gets too wrapped up in his stories.  Here, the visuals and writing do well in tying together.

Knives Out works as a modern mystery, but it also has a classic mystery feel.  It is kind of long, it is kind of slow paced in many ways.  There is flowery monologues and obvious red herrings…but that is expected in a mystery.  With all the cliches, you question if the whole thing is just one a Harlan mystery or if it is really happening.  The movie ends in classic whodunit style, and sometimes you just need a mystery.  Johnson’s fun movie plays with the genre and tries to reinvent it in many ways…and it is given Knives OutKnives Out was followed by Glass Onion:  A Knives Out Mystery in 2022.

Related Links:

Glass Onion:  A Knives Out Mystery (2022)

The 92nd Academy Award Nominations

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

Leave A Response