‘Knives Out’ a funny, suspenseful, unique murder mystery; Griffin’s score: 9/10

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Lionsgate Studios

“Knives Out” is written and directed by Rian Johnson and features an enormous, star-studded cast. Daniel Craig, Ana De Armas, Chris Evans, Jamie Lee Curtis, Michael Shannon, Don Johnson, Toni Collette headline the film amongst several others in an unconventional murder mystery. When the Patriarch of the Thrombey family, Harlan Thrombey played by Christopher Plummer, is found dead at his home, detectives arrive to investigate. One of the detectives, Craig’s Benoit Blanc, suspects foul play and as a result, the entire family becomes the subject of his investigation. Marta, Harlan’s nurse played by De Armas, is also present for the investigation and takes center stage in Blanc’s hunt for the truth.

This is a very unconventional whodunit in which Johnson takes a lot of liberties with crucial information and when that information is revealed. It has a lot of the traditional mystery clichés like flashbacks, twists and dishonesty but its wrapped in a very unique story that makes you question yourself and every character as the film progresses. The mixture of humor and suspense also sets this film apart from others in the genre. It’s surprisingly funny considering the circumstances and nearly every actor gets a chance to show off their comedic and dramatic chops.

While everyone in the cast does an outstanding job and is clearly having a blast, the two standouts for me are Craig and De Armas as Detective Blanc and Marta. This might be the funniest that Craig has ever been on-screen. His character is the most self-aware in the film and his thick, southern drawl makes every word he says entertaining. Marta on the other hand, may be the most wholesome character in the story and De Armas does an excellent job of portraying that, especially considering she gets the most screen time of all the cast.

Despite all of the outstanding performances from the cast, I think the MVP of this one might be Rian Johnson. There is not one wasted moment in “Knives Out,” not one wasted piece of dialogue or throwaway joke that doesn’t serve a future reveal or set up a punchline. Even with a runtime over two hours, the film feels focused, lean and moves at a clip. This is one of those movies that will be just as fun and interesting the second time you see it because you’ll be seeing and hearing everything that you know will come into play later. Overall, ‘Knives Out’ is a fun and unique trip to the movies. You rarely see so many A-listers working together and you rarely see it in a film like this. This film is definitely worth checking out and if you’re up to it, the second viewing will be just as fun.

Griffin’s score: 9/10

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Nick Griffin

nick@cullmantribune.com