Mystery movies can certainly be fun, but the refined art of mapping out a crime can be a challenge in this world with ever shrinking attention spans. However, there are still writers and directors out there ready to give it a try in hopes of bringing thought out plots back into the popular trend. Tonight’s review holds such a promise and even more so it holds another redeeming trial for a director whose involvement in Star Wars was not the best received. With lots of advertising, I’m sure you have seen the trailers so let’s get going as I review:
Film: Knives Out (2019)
- The Cinematography
- The Plot Is A Good Mystery
- Better Twists Than Anticipated
- Involvement With Most Of The Cast
- The Comedy
- Some rather worthless characters
- The Run Time
- The Pace
- Perhaps A Little More Murder
With an assembled cast such as this, you can best bet the acting will be at least moderate, and for me it was a fantastic display of work. All parties assembled really play the dysfunctional role well, portraying the motive filled shouts and complaints to an art that did not annoy or go overboard. Too many names to place, I’ll say that Craig was entertaining in his role of Colonel Saunders (a running joke) meeting James Bond as the detective, primarily in his interactions with Marta. Ana de Armas was the star for me not only because of her character, but more so in the way she played the levels of emotion perfectly and interacted with the squad the most to balance this art. Past the acting, the movie really picks up in terms of the visual presentation, feeling much like a detective movie from the 50s-80s, but modernizing it to the present day. It should captivate many mystery lovers, but more so generic fans who can point out a lot of devices and nods to famous detective sagas. However, the movie’s main selling point is the presentation of the story that let’s face it has been told time and time again in a Hallmark like fashion. Johnson, for me, accomplished the role of bringing out a good mystery, not only in the classic hunt for clues and mapping out suspects, but adding some nice twists to the mix. If you are paying attention to time and some info, you’ll start getting an idea, but this film’s twists (no matter how convoluted) do manage to spruce up the dusty manor of detective works. An even better angle for me, is the character utilization, while not perfect, every character has a purpose in some form or angle, with few sitting off to the sides as just mere bodies to fill a convenient hole or bridge. If not for the sake of the plot, then the character was used for comedy and that may be my favorite part of this movie. Knives Out manages to be very humorous in the regards of the comedy aspect, with well written dialogue, delivery of those lines, and timing wrapping up nicely to leave many laughing during my showing. That I feel will be a pull for many audience members, though don’t expect usual slapstick, banter, and ridiculous, logic defying stunts to be pulled here, or you’ll be disappointed.
For such an artistic film though, there are still a few things I would have liked tightened up. Though all characters were utilized in some form, I can’t lie at least three could have had more involvement than what they did. Hinting at being a part of the plot, these characters were left to the passing comments or joke props until that one moment a clue contributed. That family engagement they sold in the trailers, needed some more development for me to keep everyone entangled in the mess as opposed to on the side. In addition, the plot could have used a little more murder and threats to help spice up the drama/mystery, as I am partial to the deadly games of hunting in my movies, than anything else. For a movie selling that murder, I had kind of expected something else, but it’s a mere trinket. I can say the thing I had the hardest time with was the run time and the pace. Knowing it’s a Johnson movie, I expect it to be long, and for the most part the movie ran at a good enough pace that it did not feel super long, but other times did show the dragging I dreaded. I can say that there were parts that could have been cut out to shorten the length, or at least rewritten to include the character interaction I mentioned above.
So in conclusion, what are the thoughts on this controversial movie/tale. To be honest, I do think it is a reimagining of Clue, and took a step into the modern world to help reach out to the new audiences. It’s got the presentation of a mystery, with twists to help bring our well-acted characters together and entertain us with their drama. Comedy is also pulled out of the sheath and I think these two elements are the biggest selling factors to brave the nearly 2.5 hour run time Johnson has put forth. As such, I feel this movie is worth a shot at hitting the theaters for those looking for a drama/mystery/comedy, while others will most likely enjoy from the comfort of their homes.
My scores for Knives Out are:
Movie Overall: 8.0