After suffering through a dry spell in which there were no movies I really wanted to see, I now have several to write about, and the first one I’m going to cover is Knives Out, because I think it makes delightful holiday viewing. Writer and director Rian Johnson has crafted a winning valentine to Agatha Christie-style murder mysteries while paying homage to some of my favorite mystery/thriller/comedies from the 1970s, such as Murder on the Orient Express and Murder by Death. Like those films, he’s assembled an all-star cast in an enclosed space with a mysterious murder at the center and a dash of humor.
Daniel Craig hams it up as “gentleman detective” Benoit Blanc, who’s been retained by persons unknown to investigate the sudden death of famous mystery novelist Harlan Thrombey (Christopher Plummer). Craig’s all-over-the-map Southern accent is no more authentic than the one he affected in the marvelous Logan Lucky, but he’s having a fabulous time, as are the rest of the excellent cast, who play the bickering, avaricious members of Thrombey’s grieving family. The film is a satisfying blend of red herrings and plot twists, laced with a sprinkle of commentary about immigration and wealth disparity in the age of Trump.
Go see it with your own (non-bickering, I hope) family this holiday season.
Lt. Elliott: I’m Detective Lieutenant Elliot, and this is Trooper Wagner. We just want to ask a few questions. Now we understand, the night of his demise, the family had gathered to celebrate your father’s eighty-fifth birthday. How was it, by the way?
Linda Drysdale: The party? Pre-my dad’s death? Oh, it was great.
— Knives Out (MovieQuotesandMore.com)