Knives Out is a comedy with that features a cast of players in roles that will surprise you. Those of us who enjoyed True Lies may not recognize Jamie Lee Curtis. Daniel Craig attempts a southern accent. Christopher Plummer and Frank Oz are recognizable for their voices. K Callan, she was tough to identify since she barely spoke and had great make-up & costume. Chris Evans displayed himself very un-Captain America. And those who watch more movies than I may recognize others in the cast.
It’s a who-done-it like Clue (which also featured a host of big names). The question is: Who killed Harlan Thrombey? The police, along with consultant Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig), work through the threads of the night in question to find the killer. As they work through all of the questions the viewer is presented with a few twists that, like one would see the Spanish-dubbed Murder, She Wrote excerpt that was shown in one scene, finally lead to the real killer. Yes, it’s been out a while but I won’t spoil it in case you want to go see it, stream it, or get the media.
The strength of the movie is that it is fun. It’s not too dramatic to make your evening sombre and not so laughable that you lose interest. It does keep you on track. (I will warn you, though, do not eat a doughnut before seeing it.) The twists come about quickly enough that you pay attention and the characters are developed well enough that you have a good picture of their motivations.
The weakness of the movie is that is nothing more than political hackery. An otherwise fun movie was ruined by turning it into a political message. White folks are presented as arrogant snobs (or ignorant boobs, per one police officer) and immigrants/minorities do all the work. White folks are foolish, greedy, and entitled. Immigrants and minorities are the ones who have really earned their inheritance. Ho hum. The final scene exemplifies this with all the disinherited white folks looking up to the illegal immigrant on the balcony as though it is a dais.
I give the movie a C- on account of its self-destruction.