Holy smokes. If certain film committees pick the right nominees for awards, we are going to have a stacked and tight race. The end of 2019 in film has been nothing short of remarkable. Ad Astra, Joker, Jojo Rabbit, The Lighthouse, Ford v. Ferrari, and Parasite, have all knocked it out of the park and now we can add another film to this incredible list, Knives Out.
Knives Out is a whodunit murder mystery led by one of the greatest ensembles ever put together on-screen. Jamie Lee Curtis, Daniel Craig, Lakeith Stanfield, Chris Evans, Michael Shannon, Toni Collette, and Christopher Plummer are all in this movie and deliver some of the most entertaining performances of the year.
The plot of this film revolves around the mysterious death of Harlan Thrombey and as the police and a private investigator, played by Craig, learn about the rest of the family’s recent interactions with Harlan, they start to believe that foul play was a role in his death.
Daniel Craig. Oh my God.
As I said before, Craig plays the private investigator, with a bit of twist. We all expect Craig to bring out his soothing accent but instead, we get a deep Southern drawl that is Colonel Sanders-esque and it works so well. Craig is an absolute joy to watch on screen and it is wonderful to see him outside of Agent 007.
Speaking of refreshing, Chris Evans goes from the goody-two-shoes nice guy in Steve Rogers that we come to know and love for the last eight years to an egotistical jackass, who curses a lot by the way in this film. I adored his performance and I am really intrigued by what the future holds for him post-MCU.
You can tell that Toni Collette had a blast playing a role that did not involve being a very depressed mother, such as her characters in The Sixth Sense and Hereditary. In this film, she plays that annoying and self-centered social media guru that you see from Instagram models and YouTubers nowadays. While I am not a fan of those people, it is fun to watch a serious actress take on a role like that.
Director and writer Rian Johnson did an immaculate job with studying each character of this film. During interrogation scenes, you would get close-ups of everyone’s face and you can see the emphasis on body language and demeanor to cue when this person may be fabricating a part of their story or actually feel some sort of remorse for what they have just said.
With this A+ ensemble, Ana de Armas’ performance is going to be well-overlooked. She overcame any timidity she could have felt with this great of a case and ended up being one of the standouts of the film. Her character deals with several internal conflicts that surround the state of the family and Harlan and she handles them as appropriately as one could.
My only negative with this film is very minuscule, in regards to the big picture, but Rian Johnson does tend to get political in his writing and it plays a role in this film. However, unlike his attempt to murder the Star Wars franchise with The Last Jedi, the political topics in this film do not cloud and bog it down to where you feel as though these real-world situations are being shoved down your throat.
Outside of some fluid editing, you are not going to be blown away by the look of the film and the shots, which is not a problem because the deep studies of the characters and their performances just elevate this movie to a whole other sphere to where you almost forget that a film is happening and it feels like you are watching live events take place before your eyes.
2019 is officially a great year of film and, apparently, recent final years of decades have been great. Just look at movies that came out in 1999 and 2009.
If you get the chance, PLEASE go see Knives Out. It is one of the best films of the year and quite possibly, the most entertaining film I have seen this year.