'Knives Out': A Devilishly Entertaining Investigation into the Demise of a Famed Mystery Novelist
Knives Out (2019) is a highly spirited mystery-thriller that follows the complex investigation into the death of famed mystery novelist Harlan Thrombey (Christopher Plummer). Patriarch of a large and eclectic family, Harlan stands to bestow a sizable fortune upon his disparate brood in the wake of his sudden demise in the waning hours of his 85th birthday celebration.
Harlan's death from an apparent suicide quickly draws Detective Lieutenant Elliott (LaKeith Stanfield) and Massachusetts State Trooper Wagner (Noah Segan) to the scene, accompanied by renowned private detective Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig). The trio initiates a detailed inquiry into the events that unfolded the previous evening, Blanc ultimately determining that a murder has in fact occurred. Central to his probe is Harlan's personal nurse Marta (Ana de Armas), a virtuous young woman seemingly caught up in a web of deceit—the testimonies of Harlan's family members pinpointing her as the primary person of interest in the case.
Written and directed by American filmmaker Rian Johnson (Looper, The Last Jedi), Knives Out is a boldly serpentine tale of intrigue. Amid a talented ensemble, Craig and de Armas shine brightest while delivering varying degrees of panache and sincerity to their roles as outsiders caught up in a case of abject duplicity. Akin to the celebrated mystery novels (and subsequent films) of Agatha Christie, Johnson's film is wildly unpredictable and enormously entertaining—with the inimitable Blanc set to return in a series of forthcoming whodunit films courtesy of Johnson.
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