When I first saw the trailer for Knives Out, I was hooked by several things. First, it’s an original film in an age of reboots, sequels, and adaptations. Quite a novel concept these days! Second, what a cast! I loved that Rian Johnson pulled several notable genre actors into the mix–horror, science fiction, and fantasy are all well represented in this film–Jamie Lee Curtis, Toni Collette, Michael Shannon, Ana de Armas, LaKeith Stanfield, Chris Evans…I could go on. Third, it’s a murder-mystery comedy. By the time I left the theater, I felt like I watched an Agatha Christie story meets Clue. I was blown away by how much fun I had. In fact, Knives Out is the most fun I’ve had at the theater all year.
While I won’t spoil anything about the film for you, I will say that Knives Out is much more than just a hilarious spin on a murder-mystery story. Knives Out cuts deep at the subconscious attitudes held by many in the US, and does so with finesse. It is a visual feast with an incredible ensemble cast. Here are a few highlights from me about Knives Out.
I’m a cinematography nerd, so a quick way to get my attention in a film is interesting cinematography. Knives Out has more than just interesting camera work though. Pay attention to what’s in the background of every shot, especially in the mansion. You’ll pick up some clues for the story. There’s not a wasted shot in the entire film.
The dialogue in Knives Out is both witty and fast-paced, but it’s important to note that several one-off comments early in the film come home to roost by the film’s end. Not only is the dialogue funny, but just like its cinematography, everything is important. Pay close attention to what’s being said and what’s being omitted. You’ll have a lot more fun if you do.
Leave Your Feelings at the Door
While Knives Out is a ton of fun, it is also a film that is meant to challenge the comfortable. Knives Out is a great film to bring your relatives that are hard-hearted to certain issues. No one likes their opinions or thoughts challenged directly, however, Knives Out highlights racial tensions in the same manner as a modern day parable. I know that in my own life, good art has always challenged my thinking, helped me to think through my own problems and issues in an abstract manner, and pushed me to grow. I think Knives Out is a great vehicle to do just that.
If you’re the kind of person that enjoys a good mystery, see Knives Out. If you’re the kind of person that enjoys a great comedy, see Knives Out. If you’re fatigued by all the sequels, reboots, and adaptations that have been the mainstay of cinema for the past decade or more, see Knives Out. If you just want to watch a fantastic ensemble cast, I think Knives Out is the film for you.
Knives Out is in theaters everywhere.