Friday, October 30, 2020

Knives Out: A Murder Mystery That’s More Than Elementary

Knives Out

On the day after his 85th birthday, the rich and renowned crime novelist Harlan Thrombey (Christopher Plummer) is found dead with his throat cut and a bloody knife in his hand. While the family and police are prepared to write off the death as a suicide, all that is thrown out the window when Private Detective Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) arrives on the scene. Suspecting foul play, the Detective begins questioning everyone in the family, but as the lies pile up, so do the list of suspects. The film features an all-star cast: Jamie Lee Curtis, Chris Evans, Ana de Armas, Michael Shannon, Don Johnson, Toni Collette, LaKeith Stanfield, and Frank Oz. 

I won’t lie, I originally was weary about this film. I feel that Mystery Stories have become somewhat bland and typical in recent years—both in film, television, and even novels. There’s only so many times you can see a story where everything wraps up in the last few minutes just to reveal that the character who was at the beginning of the story for ten minutes and spent the rest of it in the background was behind it all along. That or the butler did it. 

Thankfully, “Knives Out” proved me wrong. This is not a typical by the book murder mystery. Even when it uses a troupe seen in other crime stories, it adds its own spin on it. From beginning to end, the film had me hooked, and I never once lost interest or felt like a scene was dragging on for too long. The film shows what the audience needs to know, throws out a few subtle hints, and moves on. So when the final reveal does come you’re left blown away, but you’re able to put the pieces together and see how it all connects. 

While it takes place in modernday, the story and setting have an almost old fashion style to it. The bulk of the tale takes place at the deceased Harlan Thrombey’s mansion, and it makes for a perfect setting for a murder tale. House located far from the big city, numerous rooms, archaic furniture, secret passages, and it all fits fluently into the plot. 

Every character has their own quirks and clicks that add to the rising conflict and mystery of the story, and all are brought to life by the flawless performances of the actors. I wish I could give everyone a detailed deconstruction, but then I might be risking spoilers, plus this article would go on a few pages too long. All I can say is everyone is great, but Daniel Craig nearly stole the show as he gives a perfect balance between a wise but witty detective, and oddly enough, pulls off a decent southern accent—not bad for a British actor. 

Lastly, the film is just a fun and clean murder mystery. Yes, I know how contradictory that sounds, but hear me out. Besides a few trails of blood, and a vomit scene or two, there’s nothing gory or obscene in the movie—ngunfights, gore, gratuitous sex or nudity. All the film focuses on is the characters and the mystery in the same manner as stories like “Murder She Wrote,” “Murder on the Orient Express,” or “And Then There Were None. 

“Knives Out” is rated PG-13 for thematic elements including brief violence, some strong language, sexual references, and drug material. To anyone out there looking for a fun and enthralling mystery, THIS is the film for you. The acting is great, the characters are all interesting, and the mystery is clever and well written. I’ll even admit, it even surprised me more than once. Which is why it’s no surprise that the final score for “Knives Out” is an 8 out of 10! 

Matthew Mendisana is a Lynn University alumnus. While he possesses a Bachelor’s Degree in Science, it’s the arts that attracted his attention. He currently serves as a Journalist and Copy Editor to the Coastal Breeze News and is working on becoming a Published Author. 

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