Knives Out (a whodunnit)
Director: Rian Johnson
Lots of fun is ‘Knives Out’, an Agatha Christie clone brought into the 21st century.
James Bond goes under-cover … oops Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) is on the scene, a Southern gentleman sleuth with an irresistible Southern gentleman charm, to unravel the death of 85-year old crime novelist Harlan Thrombey (Christopher Plummer) on the night of his birthday in his family home. And therein lies the rub, for on the night of this celebration the ridiculously successful murder-mystery writer Harlan cuts off all his free-loading children, so they all have a motive to kill daddy.
‘Knives Out’ has many fun twists and turns. Harlan’s home is a ridiculous gothic mansion complete with roaming hounds, creaking stairs, dangerous weapons, furniture with secret compartments (the maid keeps her stash in one such hidden compartment) ‒ and all the necessary accoutrements to keep things interesting. Of course, it is raining on the night of the party :)
Harlan’s children all have reason (greed) and opportunity, and none of them are particularly nice so we can guilt-free suspect them all. The cast is a sensational line up, but I particularly loved Toni Collette as hippy-esque ‘Joni’ who of course is an ‘influencer’, though philandering son-in-law Richard (Don Johnson) is pretty fab, and his indulged son Ranson (Chris Evans) positively oozes, everywhere. There are ten suspects in all if you count the hired help – but no butler, unfortunately.
The usual dumb mistakes are made which add to the death toll. Meeting suspect murderers alone in deserted places is never a good idea, nor is taking an overheard, one-sided phone conversation at ear-value.
Director Johnson will keep you guessing right till the end.
My absolute favourite character is Harlan’s mum (K Callan) ‒ yes Harlan is 85-years old ‒ who looks a little like 'Whistler’s Mother' (a dusty piece of taxidermy in a rocking chair) and who must know something.
Or does she?
You could do a whole lot worse for family entertainment over the Christmas break.