Rian Johnson’s “Knives Out,” a new take on the classic whodunnit murder mystery, received huge applause after its premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival on Saturday.
The movie, which Johnson made between “Star Wars” films (“The Last Jedi” and an untitled upcoming one), knows exactly what it is and leans right into it, delivering a lot of laughs along the way. It never takes itself too seriously, and the audiences went for a wild ride as the film delved into complicated family issues where everyone has secrets. Christopher Plummer plays the patriarch of a super-rich family, and his children and grandchildren are played by Jamie Lee Curtis, Michael Shannon, Toni Colette, Katherine Langford, Chris Evans, Don Johnson and Jaeden Martell. Ana de Armas plays Plummer’s caretaker and biggest confidante.
Plummer, Johnson, Colette and Evans shine as Daniel Craig’s Detective Blanc tries to solve who murdered Plummer on the night of his 85th birthday. Craig also delivers solid one-liners and thoughts that are sure to become a meme, the way Evans’ “You Eat S—!” has already become. Oh, and Plummer’s mother is the ultimate scene-stealer. We’d totally be into a spin-off about just her.
The film gets political at times but ultimately stays very true to its narrative ancestors like Agatha Christie and Alfred Hitchcock. There’s even a little “Murder, She Wrote” in there. Plus, the set design is lavish and glamorous — as “Look around, the guy practically lives in the Clue board.”
There is also a message in the film of the patriarch of the family wanting his offspring to be better. For example, Shannon’s character runs his father’s publishing company, but he’s fired by his father — little does he know that it’s for his own good, because his father just wants the son to write his own stories instead of just publishing someone else’s.
There is not much else to say about the film without going into spoilers, and viewers should definitely go into the film without any idea of what happens. It’s a fun ride with lots of twists and turns — so even when you think you know whodunnit, you don’t.