Monday, 2 December 2019

Film: 'Knives Out'

This was sheer pleasure. Despite looking promising from the trailer, I was a bit nervous that my opinion would turn out to be at variance with the many praiseworthy reviews which abound. It didn't. 

A contemporary take on the whodunits of (principally) Agatha Christie as depicted on screen through the star-studded Hercule Poirot films, this involves wealthy family patriarch, played by Christopher Plummer, apparently committing suicide on the night following having celebrated his 85th birthday with generations of his family  - a cast including Jamie Lee Curtis, Toni Collette, Don Johnson, Michel Shannon and Chris Evans. But notwithstanding a seeming straight-forwardness of the situation (a pre-determined decision by the deceased to close his own successful life at this juncture and let his family move on without him?) the police have suspicions of foul play and two officers arrive for a post-funeral investigation - with a private investigator in tow, played by Daniel Craig, as unlike 007 as you could wish, and with a (to me) rather startling American regional accent. After hanging back as silent observer, it's not long before Craig takes centre stage, twinkling his way with probing questions, verbal prods and thrusts to each individual, including house staff, who was in the huge manorial residence at the time. 
Much of the first part of the film involves the audience getting to know something about a certain one of their characters of which the others, including Craig, don't (yet) know - and then we watch Craig assembling the jig-saw of clues into a meaningful shape until, in the final minutes, it all comes together. And no, I hadn't guessed the outcome (not that I'd tried too hard!)

It's filmed around Boston. Mass. with a script that is sharp, perceptive, and often funny, and with contemporary references. All the cast are on top form, each getting his or her turn in the spotlight, yet without getting the story too fragmented, Daniel Craig providing adhesion to the whole. One quite amusing feature is that one of the cast has a condition in which, if she lies, she has a compulsion to vomit. Needless to say, this feature is utilised at crucial points in the story. 
There are a lot of details in the film which are, perhaps, delivered  too fast for one (not just me?) to grasp everything. Nonetheless it's not a hard film to follow though I would like to watch it again to discover what I missed first time around. It's one of those tales where you feel that each sentence carries a weight which may nor be evident at the time, and I'm sure I missed a lot of what was significant, though in no way did that detract from my pleasure .

Director and writer Rian Johnson ('Looper' 2012) supplies perfection itself in both these fields and I can't imagine how the film could be improved. 

If you're hankering after something twisty, supremely entertaining and different from all the dross that's around, here's your solution...........8.

(IMDb............8.1 - Rott.Toms......... 4.5 / 5 )

10 comments:

  1. I thought it had a most unusual and odd selection of actors together on screen....and yet it all worked. Everyone's chemistry molded.

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    1. It gelled well, didn't it? Held interest all the way through as we wondered how it would resolve itself into a credible solution to the mystery, which it did. Good film.

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  2. It's such a peculiar cast that I had my doubts. Thanks for this review!

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    1. It's one just to sit back and let it take you along, Mitch. A film which doesn't treat its viewers as dim. Do try to go.

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  3. my question is: if Harlan wrote the checks - and one went to the school and one to Collette's character, how did he NOT know she was double dipping??

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    1. I do recall a momentary period of confusion around that point but didn't pin down why as precisely as you have done. I think it was lost for me in the avalanche of information we were being presented with.

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  4. I love this cast and cannot wait to see the film!

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    1. I think that, for once, the reviews - or most of them - are right, Bob. You should be satisfied when you watch it.

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  5. Finally! I went to see a movie! This one!
    I enjoyed it too. Lots of fun this one.

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    1. Congratulations! (Referring to your going to a cinema at all). Delighted that it turned out to be a positive experience. If the film had been a stinker Heaven knows when you'd have next gone, if ever again!

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