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Review: ‘Knives Out’ is a ‘murder mystery masterpiece’

Sean I. Mills
Staff writer
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Posted 12/18/19

“Knives Out” is a rarity in Hollywood these days. It’s not adapted from a comic or a book. It’s not a remake or a reboot. “Knives Out” is an original story, and it’s a murder mystery …

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Review: ‘Knives Out’ is a ‘murder mystery masterpiece’

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“Knives Out” is a rarity in Hollywood these days. It’s not adapted from a comic or a book. It’s not a remake or a reboot. “Knives Out” is an original story, and it’s a murder mystery masterpiece.

Arriving with little fanfare over the Thanksgiving holiday, “Knives Out” is a wholly original script and film by director Rian Johnson. He’s most famous these days for directing “The Last Jedi” in the Star Wars saga, but Johnson made his name with grittier movies like “Brick” and “Looper”. With Star Wars behind him, Johnson returned to his roots with the classically-styled, modernly-clever whodunnit that is “Knives Out”.

If you’re a fan of a good murder mystery movie, “Knives Out” is not to be missed.

Famous mystery novelist Harlan Thrombey is found dead of an apparent suicide the morning after his 85th birthday party. He’s got a whole family of oddball children, grandchildren and in-laws, each with their own unique motivations for wanting their piece of the old man’s inheritance.

Enter Benoit Blanc, the movie’s quirky gentleman detective, who enlists the aid of Harlan’s young nurse to act as the Watson to his Holmes. Can they get to the bottom of this mystery writer’s own murder mystery? And just what secrets does this strange family have to hide?

“Knives Out” is pure fun. It’s as if Johnson and his star-studded cast tapped directly into the spirit of a good, old-fashioned mystery and crafted a perfect version for the big screen. Then they went back and added good humor, great characters and some modern twists to keep the audience spinning.

You’re not going to see these twists coming. And there will be times you won’t even be sure what kind of movie you’re watching. It’s great!

The best thing about “Knives Out” is just how clever and smart it is. The movie is filled with clues, quips and callbacks, showcasing a masterclass in screenwriting to really keep the audience on their toes.

Actor Daniel Craig is the standout as the detective, Benoit Blanc. Freed of the rigid James Bond rules, Craig is allowed to really show off his chops as the wickedly intelligent, ever-charming and all-too human detective. Ana de Armas is more than up to the challenge of matching Craig as his impromptu nurse sidekick. The two of them are so good that I hope Hollywood lets Johnson make even more Benoit Blanc films.

“Knives Out” is one of the best movies of the year. It’s a murder mystery that really makes you think, and is just plain fun to boot.

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