The summer blockbuster season is far in the rear-view, but this movie is so much fun at the theater, one might feel like they're in a warmer month.
"Knives Out" centers almost entirely on the Thrombey family, who are rather wealthy thanks to Harlan (Christopher Plummer), a legendary crime and mystery writer. The movie starts out with Harlan dying the night after his birthday celebration, so all of his children and grandchildren are in town.
After the discovery of Harlan's death, law enforcement officials initially rule it a suicide. However, legendary detective Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig), believes foul play is involved. The suspects are many, including Harlan's daughter Linda (Jamie Lee Curtis), his son Walt (Michael Shannon), and his daughter-in-law Joni (Toni Collette). Also at the scene of the crime, who Blanc relies on heavily in the case, is Harlan's closest friend and nurse Marta (Ana de Armas).
This is a classic whodunit-type flick, where there's quite a few suspects and an expert trying to solve the case. While the film's genre is very noticeable, and played up for nostalgia, writer and director Rian Johnson does shine a modern spotlight that gives the picture a fresh feel.
Like the house the movie takes place at, there's an old-fashioned, traditional atmosphere, yet the writing and style feels current and it never comes across as dated.
The movie is also never stale, as it has a very good story structure and fantastic pacing. The unraveling of mysteries at the Thrombey compound is done in a way where motives and details are unearthed not too fast and not too slow. The way the story flows and brings these characters is extremely well done.
Not only is the film well put together in the story department, it also offers the audience a key detail that sets it apart from others in the genre. This aspect gives the movie much more intrigue.
It's also noticeable how balanced the movie is with its tone. There is a lot of good comedy here, producing plenty of laughs for an audience. However, the humor doesn't ever feel inappropriate for the scene and it's not done to the point where it's tiring. Meanwhile, the movie has its more serious and emotional moments, where viewers can feel a lot of empathy for a main character.
Where the movie hits its stride the most, though, is in its group of characters. All of them have their own backgrounds and their own unique relationships with the late Harlan making the unraveling story all the more interesting. It also helps to have a cast loaded with people who've won or been nominated for Emmys, Golden Globes and Oscars. Chris Evans as Harlan's grandson and Shannon are two of the major standouts.
Along with having their own backgrounds, the characters, especially the family members, have fantastic banter. Some of the most entertaining moments in the movie comes from the back-and-forth between the family members at several moments throughout the picture.
The main star characters of the film, Marta and Benoit, are great too. Ana de Armas was fantastic in "Blade Runner 2049" and she's solid here, too, playing a woman in a situation that has become so intense.
Benoit does take a little while to get used to, as he starts off as almost too generic as the perfect detective. As time goes on though, he grows on an audience, plus it really helps that Craig brings so much charm to the role.
Johnson, along with his cast and crew, put together something really special with "Knives Out." The movie might have benefited from more screentime with the family, and some of the whodunit aspects are played up a bit too much for the audience, but these complaints are minor. This is a blast to watch. 4.85 out of 5.
For more opinions on movies and the film industry, visit matthewliedkeonfilm.com.