Film Knives Out Review

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It's a weird case from the start. A case with a hole in the center. It's truly a fantastic mystery film even without the comedy. Daniel Craig, Ana de Armas, and Chris Evans are absolutely spectacular as the main three characters Benoit Blanc, Marta Cabrera, and Ransom Drysdale. Sebenarnya gini. Film ini cuma pengen dikomen dengan “bagus banget gilak!” Namun, itu tidak akan pernah terjadi. Jadi ya sudahlah. Mari kita mulai saja seperti apa ulasan atau review Knive Out, satu film terbaru yang akan tayang pada bulan November 2019 ini dan tentu saja bertabur bintang. Knives Out, a new murder mystery by Rian Johnson (director of Looper, Brick, and a rumored fourth Star Wars trilogy, God help us), is an example of the point being thrust in, not ostentatiously.

Posted on November 25, 2019 at 5:11 pm

FilmKnivesOut B +
Lowest Recommended Age:High School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for thematic elements including brief violence, some strong language, sexual references, and drug material
Profanity:Some strong language
Alcohol/ Drugs:Drinking and drug use
Violence/ Scariness:Murder mystery with graphic and disturbing images
Diversity Issues:A theme of the movie
Date Released to Theaters:November 26, 2019
Date Released to DVD:February 24, 2020

You know those murder mysteries where a big rich family all gathers in a big gothic house and someone gets killed and everyone has a motive and we get a bunch of red herrings (often the initial suspect is the second murder victim) and then the detective gathers everyone in the drawing room at the end to lay out all of the possible scenarios and then point dramatically at the surprise perpetrator? Those mysteries are sometimes called “cozies.” “Knives Out” is both a loving tribute and a cheeky meta-take on this genre from writer/director Rian Johnson and an all-star cast clearly having the time of their lives. It is deliciously nasty, seasoned with some political jibes, a ton of fun and anything but cozy.

It takes place in a magnificently gothic mansion correctly described by a character as something out of a Clue game. The owner is wealthy mystery author Harlan Thromby (Christopher Plummer), his name a likely nod to the classic Choose-Your-Own-Adventure story. “Knives Out” is literal — there is a huge “Game of Thrones”-style ceremonial seat decorated with daggers — and metaphoric, as a family of unpleasant heirs needle each other as they strive for the patriarch’s favor, meaning his money.

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Just after the family has gathered to celebrate his 85th birthday party, Thromby is found dead, his throat cut, an apparent suicide. The suspects are: his daughter Linda (Jamie Leigh Curtis), her husband Richard (Don Johnson), their son Ransom (Chris Evans), Thromby’s son Walt (Michael Shannon), who runs Thromby’s publishing company, Thromby’s daughter-in-law Joni (Toni Collette), the widow of his late son and the proprietor of a pretentious “wellness” company, Thromby’s nurse Marta (Ana de Armas), the daughter of an undocumented immigrant. Other possible suspects include Harlan’s dotty mother Greatnana (K Callan), Walt’s wife Donna (Riki Lindhome), their alt-right teenage son Jacob (Jaeden Martell), Joni’s college-student daughter Meg (Katharine Langford of “13 Reasons Why”), and Fran the housekeeper (Edi Patterson). Thromby’s son, daughter, and daughter-in-law think of themselves as successful entrepreneurs but in reality they are subsidized by Thromby, who has no illusions about their business acumen or their expressions of affection.

A cop (Lakeith Stanfield) accompanied by a state trooper (Noah Segan) starts asking questions. And then one of the suspects asks a question: Who is the man who has been silently sitting in the back, listening to everything that is going on? It is legendary “last of the gentleman sleuths” private Detective Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig), whose ridiculous name is matched by his honey-dripping Southern drawl, compared by one character to the cartoon character Foghorn Leghorn (a caricatured rooster inspired by the caricatured Senator Claghorn on the old Fred Allen radio show). The first mystery is that he does not know who hired him to be there. He just received an envelope with cash inside.

We get a chance to see some illuminating flashbacks that let us in on some of what has happened before the detectives or the family know. And we get to know them better, especially Marta, repeatedly referred to patronizingly by the family as “one of the family” but no one can seem to remember which Spanish-speaking country she and her family come from. Marta is of special value to Blanc because she is a human lie detector, at least about her own truthfulness. If she does not tell the truth, she involuntarily projectile vomits. (Really.) She has a few secrets that she is desperate to conceal, especially after a motive is revealed. Characters make and break alliances as it seems no one can be trusted, and what is revealed just shows us how much more we don’t know. The twists and turns will keep you guessing until the end and the unexpected barbs of satire make this as delicious as the fictional Thromby’s best-sellers.

Parents should know that this is a murder mystery with some grisly and graphic images, some strong language, family conflicts, drinking and drugs.

Film Knives Out Review

Family discussion: Which character did you suspect and why? Why did Thromby make that decision about his fortune?

If you like this, try: the original “Murder on the Orient Express,” “And Then There Were None,” and Rian Johnson’s other genre-bending films “Looper” and “Brick”

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Rian Johnson’s “Knives Out” unravels not just a good old-fashioned murder mystery but the very fabric of the whodunit, pulling at loose threads until it has intricately, devilishly woven together something new and exceedingly delightful.

For all the detective tales that dot television screens, the Agatha Christie-styled whodunit has gone curiously absent from movie theaters. The nostalgia-driven “Murder on Orient Express” (2017), popular as it was, didn’t do much to dispel the idea that the genre has essentially moved into retirement, content to sit out its days in a warm puffy armchair, occasionally dusting itself off for a remake.

But Johnson has since his 2005 neo-noir debut “Brick” shown a rare cunning for enlivening old genres with densely plotted deconstruction. He makes very clever movies (“Looper,” “Star Wars: The Last Jedi”) that sometimes, like in the madcap caper “The Brothers Bloom,” verge on showy overelaboration, of being too much.

But in the whodunit, too much is usually a good thing. Give us all the movie stars, plot twists and murder weapons you can find. When done well, there is almost nothing better. And “Knives Out,” while it takes a little while to find its stride, sticks the landing, right up to its doozy of a last shot. The whodunit turns out not only to still have a few moves left but to be downright acrobatic.

The film begins like many before it: with a dead body that needs accounting for. Harlan Thrombey (Christopher Plummer), a bestselling mystery writer, is found with his throat cut in a small upstairs room in his sprawling Victorian mansion. Production designer David Crank deserves much credit for the film’s fabulously ornate and much-paneled setting — a Clue board come to life and a home that could rival the modernist abode of “Parasite” for movie house of the year.

Thrombey is extremely wealthy with an expansive family of spoon-fed, entitled eccentrics that would likely mix well with the dynasty of HBO’s “Succession.” And as much intrigue as there is about Harlan’s death, for his children there’s even more about his inheritance. There’s his relator daughter Linda (Jamie Lee Curtis) and her cheating husband Richard (Don Johnson), a vocal Trump supporter; his son Walt (a sweater-wearing Michael Shannon) who runs his father’s publishing house; lifestyle guru daughter-in-law Joni (Toni Collette); and his playboy grandson Ransom (Chris Evans), the black sheep of the family.

There are others, too, most notably Harlan’s trusted caregiver Marta (Ana de Armas). The Thrombeys casually refer to her as “the help” and, in a running gag, are all over the map when it comes to her native South American country. A deeper political dimension slowly takes shape as the family’s cavalier indifference to Marta plays a role in the movie’s unspooling mysteries. Juggling themes of class privilege, immigration and ethnocentricity, “Knives Out” is a whodunit for the Trump era.

Some mysteries first submerge themselves in set-up, the crime in question and the entrance of its central detective. Johnson is too restless for such an approach. He favors flashbacks, by the boat load, to go along with elaborate plot mechanics of reversals and perspective switcheroos. That gives “Knives Out” a somewhat clunky and imperfectly paced first act, something Johnson makes up for with the payoff of his finale. But for a movie with so many fine actors having so much fun, we get surprisingly little of the Thrombeys as a whole.

Instead, our detective calls almost immediately. Enter Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig), a flamboyant Louisiana investigator of such renown that he’s already been profiled in the New Yorker as “the last of the gentleman sleuths.” Even with such immaculate set dressing all around him (the mystery writer’s house is decorated throughout with murder weapons, including a throne of knives), Craig still manages to chew plenty of scenery with his heavily accented Southern-style Poirot. One calls him “Foghorn Leghorn,” another “CSI: KFC.” He’s accompanied by another detective (an underused Lakeith Stanfield) but he quickly makes Marta his sidekick; she has a useful aversion to lies, throwing up every time she tells one.

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There isn’t much that isn’t knowing in Johnson’s dialogue. He delights in playing by the genre’s rules and remaking them at once. There are winking references here to “Hamilton” and “Baby Driver,” and “Knives Out” more than once risks being overwhelmed by self-satisfaction.

But “Knives Out,” in the end, believes earnestly in the whodunit, it just wants to turn it inside out. To say more about that would spoil the fun. But keep an eye here, and elsewhere, on de Armas. The “Blade Runner 2049” actress (soon to be seen in the next James Bond film, also with Craig) isn’t the biggest star in a film awash with A-listers. But with neither cloak nor dagger, she seizes “Knives Out.” It’s hers.

Movie Knives Out Review

“Knives Out,” a Lionsgate release, is rated PG-13 by the Motion Picture Association of America for thematic content, some disturbing images and strong language. Running time: 126 minutes. Three and a half stars out of four.

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Knives Out Review Film Companion

MPAA Definition of PG-13: Parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.

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Follow AP Film Writer Jake Coyle on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/jakecoyleAP