In cinemas December 2019
Director: Rian Johnson
Cast: Daniel Craig, Chris Evans, Ana de Armas, Jamie Lee Curtis
Country: USA 2019
Running time: 130 mins
Set in a Hitchcockian style mansion with turrets, imposing portraits and trophy daggers, this family saga “whodunnit” begins with exposing the far-fetched circumstances surrounding the murder of patriarch crime writer Harlan Thrombey (Christopher Plummer). Enter Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig), a celebrity private detective who questions each of the family whilst managing to miss the most obvious clues as he pieces together the evidence.
Ana de Arma plays Marta, a kindly, immigrant nurse, carer to Thrombey, whose peculiar saving grace is to vomit when she’s forced to lie. This unfortunate and curious ploy eventually makes sense by the end of the film.
As with many mainstream American movies, there’s a moralistic thread to pull on the heart strings. In Knives Out, Marta goes to great lengths to conceal what happened to her beloved employer in order to protect her mother, an illegal immigrant (cue a glib attempt to debate one of the most contentious issues in American politics).
Every actor does his or her part justice, from Daniel Craig as the debonair detective to Toni Collette as the ingratiating daughter-in-law. In the end, Knives Out wins as a smartly produced crime-comedy, with a significant part for everyone in the illustrious cast list. It's quite simply fun to watch.
(First Reviewed, Headline Galas, London Film Festival, October 2019)