KNIVES OUT – One of the Most Entertaining Films of 2019

As soon as the trailer dropped for KNIVES OUT I needed to see it – I mean what a cast!! In an Agatha Christie inspired Cluedo comedy – YES please!! It was going to be great to see Daniel Johns out of 007 character and hamming it up. Well boy oh boy does it deliver – it is out now and you MUST see it.

KNIVES OUT dropped in Australia yesterday, 28th November 2019, from the fine folks at StudioCanal Australia. It is rated M and runs for 130 hysterical minutes.

Knives Out Daniel Craig
Daniel Craig

BY JASON KING

SYNOPSIS:

When renowned crime novelist Harlan Thrombey (Christopher Plummer) is found dead at his estate just after his 85th birthday, the inquisitive and debonair Detective Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) is mysteriously enlisted to investigate. From Harlan’s dysfunctional family to his devoted staff, Blanc sifts through a web of red herrings and self-serving lies to uncover the truth behind Harlan’s untimely death. 

Knives Out Ana De Armas
Ana De Armas

IT’S AGATHA CHRISTIE FROM THE EYES OF A GIGGLING STONER AND IT’S GENIUS:

The Christmas holidays will soon be on us and we all know how insane family can be – KNIVES OUT is perfectly timed to show you a family clearly more insane than your own, it will make you laugh a lot and will hopefully lighten the mood when you all get together. If your family is this batshit insane perhaps suggest a family trip to the cinema and see it together.

I felt like I was watching Agatha Christie through the eyes of my much younger stoner self, giggling at the sheer insanity of it all – I love this family and I want to be a part of it. KNIVES OUT will win for everyone because it is simply just a FUN movie, the screenplay is fun, the characters are fun, the subtle dig at current society and entitlement is fun and the cast is having so much fun in their roles you can see it in everything they deliver.

Director Rian Johnson delivers twists, turns and misleading redirections so many times Agatha Christie has stirred and clapped from her grave. You literally think they are all guilty and the family itself is so painful they should all be killed – it’s like the Trump family with their entitlement, a subtle dig to people who believe they are of an elevated station due to money and everyone else is their modernised slaves. The way the entire family cannot remember which South American country Marta is from is so subtle you will eventually get it and laugh, the way Don Johnson calls her family while holding out a plate for her to take even though she isn’t a maid is just brilliant. It’s black comedy at its finest.

Knives Out Toni Collette
Toni Collette

RIAN JOHNSON NAILS COMEDY GOLD:

I love Rian Johnson, he never seems to make the same genre twice. He went form the incredibly powerful BRICK in 2005 to the awesome LOOPER time travelling science fiction to a few episodes of BREAKING BAD to THE LAST JEDI. And while a science fiction, STAR WARS is basically now it’s own genre. And now this, a comedy ensemble whodunnit. Brilliant. He has only made four serious features in fifteen years and appears to have selected passion projects.

You will truly appreciate his genius when you start seeing that nearly every path he takes you on in KNIVES OUT is the wrong one. Eventually you will just let go trying to figure it all out and enjoy the ride. The final outcome is so nuts, it’s a donut – you will see haha.

But it’s not all perfection. About a third of the way in, after a major reveal, the film stalls for about 15mins and I was seriously worrying, but the final third of the film goes into high gear and fully unleashes comedy gold – all will be forgiven. The other thing that is a little disappointing is that this is such a large ensemble cast, some of your favourite actors are severely outshone by other amazing actors and it’s no one’s fault, it’s just screen time. This is seriously the only film with Michael Shannon that i’ve seen where he is majorly outshone.

Same with I.T. Boy Jaeden Martell, he rarely does anything but is involved in one of the funniest nicknames/ jokes of the film that still cracks me up. This character was created as a giant “fuck you” to the online trolls who hated on STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI.

Knives Out Chris Evans
Chris Evans

ONE OF THE BEST ENSEMBLES IN RECENT TIMES:

THE BIG GUNS:

Four main players steal their scenes in KNIVES OUT, while the ensemble is mammoth four actors shine so brightly the rest are left in shadow. First off the starting block – THIS IS DANIEL CRAIG’S BEST PERFORMANCE. I am not a huge Daniel Craig fan but his excitement in the film is very tongue-in-cheek Hercule Poirot but way more nuts. His discussion about a donut will have you in hysterics and his end delivery is off the charts – even a tap on a piano key is oddly humorous. Next up for me is the lead, well, kind of the lead, the film is centred around Marta, played by Ana De Armas, a mostly unknown actor compared to the heavy hitters around her. She was in BLADE RUNNER 2049 and WARDOGS and she has followed Craig into the upcoming NO TIME TO DIE.

Then there was Toni Collette, one of my all time favourite actors who has so much fun in this part and does it with so much ease I laugh just thinking about her, like, you know, literally. She embodies every teen to twenty something bimbo and lights up the screen in every scene – you can even seen in her eyes how funny she thinks the character is.

Finally, for me, the final character who shines brightly is Chris Evans, clearly he has loosened up with the shield off and just has way too much fun being the dickhead trust-fund boy of the film. He just loathes the family and loves ensuring they all know.

THE LESS THAN GOLIATHS:

Jamie Lee Curtis is nearly there but her character, while a total **** and hysterical, just wasn’t big enough, she is like the older sibling who tows the line better because she knows better. It was good seeing Hannah Baker back from the 13 REASONS WHY grave in a role but again so small. I loved Don Johnson’s scenes and could have done with a lot more and while Christopher Plummer dies quite close to the start (not a spoiler) he is always wonderful. The cops played by LaKeith Stanfield and Noah Segan are more the sidekicks of Daniel Criag character – they are some good comic relief but again I wish we had more of them.

There is also the mother of them all, the grandmother of the film – and oddly despite playing his mother in the film, K Callan is actually over six years younger than Christopher Plummer. She plays the role without dialogue and just makes the audience laugh by acting incredibly old and not quite there.

And finally one character that needs to be mentioned, one not even human but with one of the biggest hearts in the movie, the house itself. I can find no information about it but it is just magnificent and exactly the house I would want.

Knives Out Jamie Lee Curtis and "the Family"
Jamie Lee Curtis and “The Family”

MURDER THEM ALL:

If you like fun things – don’t even think about it, just go and see KNIVES OUT. Take your family and go and enjoy that the Thrombey family is way more nuts than yours. Also see it for some of the best comedic performances of 2019 and recent years.

SALTY’S POP SCORE:

KERNEL ELIE’S POP SCORE:

YOUR CRITIC:

Jason King owns, writes and edits Salty Popcorn and Spooning Australia. A movie, food, restaurant, wine, chocolate, bacon, burger and brussels sprouts addict he is a member of the Australian Film Critics Association and has been in the Australian movie industry for 26yrs. 

He believes all it takes to make a good movie is a bloody good story, with a little luck the rest should fall in line. He is getting a little sick of saying “story story story” in his reviews with so much shite releasing in the last decade. Furthermore he loves watching people trip over and is Leonardo DiCaprio’s biggest fan. 

** Images used are courtesy of various sources on Google or direct from the distributor or publisher. Credit has been given to photographers where known – images will be removed on request.