Friday (Movie) Review: Knives Out

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

We just rented this DVD from Netflix. I have been looking forward to watching it because I have heard so many people say they loved it. And I have to say, I was not disappointed. It was fun to watch.

The plot is basically about Harlan Thrombley, a very successful writer of mystery thrillers who is found dead one morning, apparently of suicide. He has made a fortune from his books and his family is expecting to inherit said fortune. The police are investigating, of course, but with them is an enigmatic private detective who has been hired by an anonymous client to also look into the death.

That’s a quick and broad summary of the plot, but I don’t want to spoil anything if you haven’t seen the movie. Of course, there are plots and counter-plots. The family is delightfully dysfunctional. They are trying to put up a good front for the police, but it becomes increasingly clear that they all have something to hide, and all have had reasons in the recent past to plot murder. But what else would you expect from this sort of movie? It’s all very well put together. The basics of the story are laid out in the interviews by the police on the day the death is discovered, and the real backstory is told in flashbacks as we see what really happened as opposed to what they are telling the police. Bits and pieces are hinted at throughout, red herrings abound, and every details pulls together at the end to give a satisfying conclusion. There is an excellent use of the Chekov’s gun trope in there, as well.

The cast is so very good. Jamie Lee Curtis and Don Johnson are cast as Thrombley’s daughter and her husband. In this reversal of the usual roles, it’s Curtis’ character who has the money- not only her family money, but a successful business that she is very careful to make sure everyone knows is hers alone. Johnson is the- well, I guess you’d call him a gold digger husband. Toni Collette and Michael Shannon round out the family as the other son and daughter. Shannon’s character, Walt, has been running his father’s publishing company and has an ongoing dispute with his father over expanding the company beyond books. Collette has a new age-y skin care company that is not very successful and is skimming money from her father on the excuse of paying her daughter’s college tuition. Chris Evans is Curtis and Johnson’s son, Ransom. He’s the black sheep of the family- a bit of a wild child, with no real ambition or desire to do anything but enjoy spending family money and goad everyone from his grandfather to his parents and their siblings. Daniel Craig is absolutely wonderful as Benoit Blanc, the private detective. He plays the Hercule Poirot-esque role perfectly, with a laid back Southern charm that hides the extremely competent crime solver beneath. Ana de Armas is the hired nurse and companion to Harlan, caught in the middle of the whole affair and with secrets of her own to hide. All in all, it’s an excellent cast that makes a well-conceived and written script into a terrific movie.

I truly enjoyed the whole movie. If you are looking for a lighter film with a plot that works, a cast perfect for each character, and enough twists and family intrigue to keep you guessing, get a copy of Knives Out. It’s worth it.

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The Demon’s in the Details, the third story in my urban fantasy series, The Yo-Yo Files, is now available.

Urban Fantasy like the above not your thing? I have both scifi and fantasy stories available, also. Look here for all the deets on the above series and the rest of my published stories.

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