Knives Out is a funny, well produced, and entertaining mystery comedy. The movie succeeds, in part, because it doesn’t take itself too seriously.
When mystery writer and Thrombey family patriarch (Christopher Plummer) is found dead with his throat cut, local police think suicide. But world-renowned private detective Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) believes foul play is involved, and the suspects multiply quickly. Everyone has a secret, and their entitled boorish behavior is grating, complicating the investigation. But no one seems to have a motive for murder either. Blanc’s reasons for being engaged in the case are as mysterious as the complicated web of relationships, loyalties, and insecurities that keep this movie running at a quick clip.
At the center of the mystery is Thrombey’s nurse, Marta Cabrera (Ana de Armas), whose Latin ethnic heritage is played for comic and dramatic effect throughout the movie. As Thrombey’s primary caregiver, she is also a suspect. Ana de Armas plays the role to the hilt, keeping audiences guessing on just how involved — and intentional — her actions were leading up to Thrombey’s death.
Writer-Director Rian Johnson does an excellent job managing a well-known cast in a complex plot in “Knives Out.” Among the actors appearing in critical roles are Jamie Lee Curtis as Linda, Thrombey’s daughter and self-made millionaire, Don Johnson as Linda’s wife, Michael Shannon as ne’er do well son who also controls Thrombey’s lucrative publishing empire, and Toni Collette as the widow of Thrombey’s son, and Chris Evans as the entitled grandson who loves to poke and prod his family into arguments.
Those looking for a more modern and updated Agatha Christie type mystery will enjoy Knives Out. Superb acting and attention to detail allow this “who done it” to rise above mediocrity. While the movie provides lessons about humility, independent, and personal responsibility, Rian Johnson doesn’t let the movie get bogged down in too much moralizing. The bratty adult behavior does enough on its own.