Knives Out

January 29, 2020

 Image courtesy of slashfilm.com

The esteemed crime writer Harlan Thrombey is dead. The police have ruled his death as a suicide, his family is mourning, and preparations are being made for his will to be read. But everything is not as it seems, especially when private detective Benoit Blanc arrives on the scene. Hired to investigate Harlan’s death, the so called “last of the Gentlemen Detectives” has various mysteries to solve: which of the Thrombeys wanted Harlan dead, what is the contents of his will, and perhaps most urgently, who hired Blanc in the first place?

 

Knives Out is the latest film from Rian Johnson, director of Star Wars: The Last Jedi and Looper. It features an ensemble cast including Danial Craig, Chris Evans, Ana de Armas, Jamie Lee Curtis and Christopher Plummer. If you find that list impressive, I can’t blame you, the cast of this film is top notch, and there is a tangible sense of fun seeping out of every aspect of the film. Craig especially seems to be enjoying himself, trading out the flashy suits and cars synonymous with Bond for a southern accent and weird and mannerisms. Blanc feels instantly iconic, and the time spent with him is amongst the most enjoyable in the film. He spouts strange observations like it was going out of style, comparing the case to a doughnut one second, and talking at great length about a book title the next. Another mention should go to Evans, who spends this film proving that he is more than just Captain America, although long-time fans of his work might already be aware of this. As the playboy Ransom, Evans brings a form of second life to the film. First appearing just as the film begins to slightly drag, he revitalises the production with the simple proclamation that his family members should all “Eat shit”. But, if Craig’s mannerisms and Evans’s profanity laden egocentrism are the stars of the show when it comes to comedy, then it is de Armas who is the film’s heart. As Marta, Harlan’s nurse, de Armas is simply a delight. The daughter of an illegal migrant, she is warm, kind and completely out of her depth, as her world slowly crumbles around her and she is dragged deeper into the investigation by Blanc. Complicating matters is the fact that she vomits whenever she tells a lie.

 

As already mentioned, the film is a delight to watch, balancing humour and tension perfectly. Each of the characters have their own little quirks and jokes. As already mentioned, there is the strangeness of Blanc, but another personal favourite is the running gag of Marta not being present at Harlan’s funeral (“I wanted for you to come”, several of the family members assure her. “I was out voted”). There are other, fantastically funny moments to experience, but I won’t spoil them here. Instead, I will encourage you to see Knives Out, as it’s definitely the most enjoyable film I’ve seen this year. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve been practicing my Chris Evans impression and have something I need to tell my family…

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First published in 1965, InQuire is the University of Kent student newspaper.

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