Knives Out

This is such a ridiculously enjoyable romp! It’s gorgeous to look at and even more fun to watch, Rian Johnson’s tribute to Agatha Christie is a perfectly cast whirlwind that keeps one guessing until the end. When famous author Harlan Thrombey (Christopher Plummer) is found dead after his birthday party, the presumption of suicide seems suspicious as more details unfold as to family motives for murder. Each family member is quirky and nuanced, but they’re played by heavyweights Jamie Lee Curtis, Michael Shannon, Don Johnson, Toni Collette, and others; nothing less would be expected. What’s more surprising is LaKeith Stanfield’s turn as Lt. Elliot, if you haven’t been paying attention to this actor yet, now is the moment. Stanfield disappears completely into every roll he plays and here he is the ballast that holds the film’s wacky characters together. There are a few week spots, Noah Segan’s Trooper Wagner’s cross draw holster is unusual and distracting enough to warrant an explanation which never arrives. Further, why is a trooper in plain clothes partnered with a detective for a death investigation? Daniel Craig as private investigator Benoit Blanc also distracts with an unnecessary and unexplained Southern accent; he would have been just as good in his natural British. Medical, legal, and forensics experts might be slightly annoyed by certain liberties taken by the film, but all in all it’s a lovely frolic. Watch it to be delighted.