Knives Out is a lovely 4K Blu-ray experience. The film is great fun (and stands up very well to repeated viewings), the picture and sound quality are both strong, and the sheer care and attention.
Knives Out 4K Video Knives Out was shot digitally using both Arri Alexa 65 and Mini cameras with a resolution of 3.4K and 5.1K, as well as on film with a Panavision PSR, but ultimately finished as a 2K DI, which has been used for this Ultra HD Blu-ray release. Rather, Knives Out concerns class warfare, played out over $60 million, and how the effectively unemployed, spoiled family expects a handout, while the nurse worries herself about those in her care. Each Thrombey is an elite archetype, some subtle in their expectations, others blatant, if all defined only by selfishness. Knives Out was released on Digital HD on February 7, 2020 and on DVD, Blu-ray and 4K on February 25. It was made available on the streaming service Amazon Prime on June 12, 2020. 3 product ratings - Knives Out 4K UHD + Blu-ray + Digital BRAND NEW Special Edition Steelbook $24.99 Trending at $27.00 Trending price is based on prices over last 90 days.
Knives Out isn’t quite a masterpiece but certainly has roots in a classical Agatha Christie mystery with some modern, topical twists which at times come across as preachy. Other than that, however, this is a wonderful mystery-comedy with a fantastic ensemble.
Genre(s): Crime, Comedy, Mystery
Lionsgate PG13 – 130 min. – $42.99 February 25, 2020
Date Published: 03/17/2020 Author: The Movieman
Lionsgate provided me with a free copy of the Blu-ray I reviewed in this Blog Post.
The opinions I share are my own.
Note: The screen captures were taken from the Blu-ray disc and do not represent the 4K Ultra HD transfer.
THE MOVIE — 4.0/5
Plot Synopsis: The circumstances surrounding the death of crime novelist Harlan Thrombey (CHRISTOPHER PLUMMER) are mysterious, but there’s one thing that renowned Detective Benoit Blanc (DANIEL CRAIG) knows for sure: everyone in the wildly dysfunctional Thrombey family — daughter Linda (JAMIE LEE CURTIS) her husband Richard (DON JOHNSON) and their son Ransom (CHRIS EVANS), daughter-in-law Joni (TONI COLLETTE) and her daughter Meg (KATHERINE LANGFORD), son Walt (MICHAEL SHANNON) and his wife Donna (RIKI LINDHOME) — are suspects. At the center of it all is Harlan’s personal nurse, Marta (ANA DE ARMAS). Now, Blanc must sift through a web of lies and red herrings to uncover the truth.
Review: Rian Johnson, to say the least, has become a divisive name for some following the release of his Star Wars: The Last Jedi and even though I too wasn’t very impressed, surprisingly mostly by the writing more than anything, I did love his feature debut, Brick, a modern film-noir.
Johnson has dipped back into what I think is his wheelhouse, this time an Agatha Christie-style murder mystery, Knives Out. Although there is a mid-point where some political discussion felt a tad forced, Johnson’s script in combination with some nice direction, which includes alternate POVs depending on who’s talking, made for a finely crafted film that does keep one guessing until the very end.
The performances from this ensemble are all well done, though Daniel Craig easily stands out as Blanc, a mix of Sherlock Holmes and Hercule Poirot, with an accent that is a bit off, though still kind of works for the character, and Craig proves once more he is a talent, shame he seems to have contempt for playing James Bond…
In any case, Ana de Armas turns in yet another nice performance, solidifying herself as perhaps a star of the future, such as they are nowadays while you have some veterans like Christopher Plummer, Jamie Lee Curtis, Toni Collette and Michael Shannon all doing well for themselves, and that’s not to mention fun seeing Don Johnson in a major role, gets a bit lost with the rest but still shows he has some great charisma even when playing a smarmy character.
Knives Out isn’t entirely innovative taking the Agatha Christie murder-mystery blueprint and putting a fun little twist to it, but it shows once again, since Brick anyway, that Rian Johnson is a talented filmmaker, just in my eyes perhaps wasn’t the right fit for a Star Wars movie, at least unchecked.
Knives Out 4k Steelbook
SPECIAL FEATURES – 5.0/5
This release does come with a matted slip cover, inside contains the redemption code for the Digital HD copy. All of the features are on both the 4K and Blu-ray discs.
Both of these are enjoyable, the second more unique. Either way, Johnson shows his love for the project and moviemaking and, in terms of the first track, the three commentators do a good job breaking down the movie from different viewpoints.
Deleted Scenes (4:57) — Only two scenes here, neither of consequence. Comes with an optional commentary with Johnson.
Making a Murder (1:57:07) — 8-Part making-of featurette covering the inspirations, casting, costumes, production design, cinematography, editing and music & sound. Rarity nowadays for a new movie to have this extensive of a behind-the-scenes feature; includes interviews by members of the cast and crew.
Rian Johnson: Planning the Perfect Murder (6:17) — Pretty standard featurette with Johnson explaining his process of writing the script.
Director & Cast Q&A (42:09) — Filmed in Westwood after a screening. Includes Johnson, Jaeden Martell, Katherine Langford, Don Johnson, Michael Shannon, Jamie Lee Curtis, Ana de Armas, Chris Evans and Daniel Craig.
4K UHD VIDEO – 5.0/5 BD VIDEO — 4.5/5
|Lionsgate releases Knives Out onto 4K Ultra HD and Blu-ray where it’s presented in its original 1.85 widescreen aspect ratio and given 2160p and 1080p high-definition transfers, respectively. Both of these do look rather fantastic, detail particularly on the 4K is sharp with the natural film noise giving it that theatrical look. Colors do shine through quite nicely with not a huge difference comparing the 4K and Blu-ray, perhaps a slight edge maybe due to the HDR, otherwise you can’t go too wrong with the Blu-ray picture.|
AUDIO – 4.5/5
|Both formats come with a Dolby Atmos track which I didn’t feel was amazing but more than suitable for a movie that is mostly dialogue, coming through the center channel with good clarity, or mystery atmospheric music/soundtrack and the depth is decent enough, yet nothing awe-inspiring. Considering the type of movie this is, it didn’t need to be overpowering.|
OVERALL – 4.25/5
Knives Out isn’t quite a masterpiece but certainly has roots in a classical Agatha Christie mystery with some modern, topical twists which at times come across as preachy. Other than that, however, this is a wonderful mystery-comedy with a fantastic ensemble led way by Daniel Craig and, to a lesser extent, Ana de Armas. This 4K UHD/Blu-ray combo pack offers up great video and audio transfers and comes with a fair amount of bonus features.
The screen captures came from the Blu-ray copy and are here to add visuals to the review and do not represent the 4K video.
|Review by: Matt Brighton|
|Posted on: February 24th, 2020|
Plot: What’s it about?
There aren’t a lot of murder mystery movies these days. That’s too bad. But leave it to someone like Rian Johnson to give us one of the best we’ve seen in years. And before I get too deep into uncharted waters, I will say that this is the second film I’ve seen recently about an eccentric rich family who thinks they can do what they want. The first being Ready or Not. I can see these two films being a nice double feature. Nevertheless, take a director who’s known for doing what he wants, producing great films and an ensemble cast and you might have an inkling as to what Knives Out is. But make no mistake – this one will keep you guessing until the very end. And that’s part of the fun.
Harlan Thrombey (Christopher Plummer) has made his name as a noted mystery writer. But when he’s found dead in his mansion with his throat slit, we meet investigator Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) and his team to figure it out. There are no shortage of suspects. His daughter, businesswoman Linda (Jamie Lee Curtis), her unfaithful husband Richard (Don Johnson) or their son Ransom (Chris Evans). There’s Harlan’s son, Walt (Michael Shannon), Joni (Toni Collette), the gold-digging daughter-in-law or the grandaughter, Meg (Katherine Langford). Lastly, we’ve got the in-home nurse Marta (Ana de Armas)? Finger pointing abounds and everyone’s a suspect.
To say that there’s more to this film than meets the eye is, of course, an understatement. About an hour in, we see the murder take place. That’s something to behold in a murder mystery whodunnit. But we’re then greeted with a second, more subtle plot. And it’s the combination of these, along with the ensemble cast, that really makes the film work. Knives Out was nominated for Best Original Screenplay (it lost to eventual Best Picture winner, Parasite). But it might be argued that the film’s commercial appeal was the real winner. There are traditional murder mysteries like Murder on the Orient Express, but for something fun and truly unique (and, by and large, family-friendly) look no further.
Video: How’s it look?
The film was shot digitally and then Rian Johnson and Director of Photography Steve Yedlin did something a bit odd. What was so odd? Well, they made it look like it was shot on film. They altered the color grading, added some grain and even gave certain scenes a “shaking” effect to resemble that of film. I don’t know why they simply didn’t shoot the movie on film, but last time I checked I wasn’t the Cinematographer for this movie. Nevertheless, Knives Out does look pretty stunning in 4K. It’s not that picture-perfect, pristine gem that we’ve all become spoiled by, but it just has a nice look and feel to it. We’ve got all the usual caveats in place with HDR, nice detail, wonderful colors and the like. I’d go out on a limb and say that this is one that the Blu-ray would most likely suffice, but if you’re building a 4K collection, this should be a part of it. No complaints here in the least.
Audio: How’s it sound?
In the commentary track, Johnson pauses as he says “our ears are about to explode.” While I didn’t find that to be the case, it’s a testament to the soundtrack and score of this film. We get a wonderful Dolby Atmos track that fills the room with an aura of mystery and mystique all the while sounding natural. Vocals are top notch, surround sound has a depth and dimension that only the atmospheric quality that only a Dolby Atmos soundtrack can produce. It’s not LFE heavy, but they’re there. It’s an energetic and fun track that’s sure to please.
Supplements: What are the extras?
- Audio Commentary – Director Rian Johnson, Director of Photography Steve Yedlin and actor Noah Segan seem to have a great time both watching and dissecting the film. We get some information about how some shots were achieved, Yedlin’s passion for film (yet the movie was shot digitally and made to look like film) and the “heart of the film” actor Noah Segan who played Trooper Wagner in the film. It’s a fairly standard track, but the three play off one another (especially Yedlin and Johnson) quite well. It’s a bit different than…
- In-Theater Commentary – Admittedly, I was intrigued when I saw “In-Theater Commentary” as I’d never seen it labled like this before. I figured maybe it was Johnson sitting in a theater watching the film with an audience. Nope, not really. It’s basically just a solo track with Johnson as he gets a lot more technical than he did in the previous track. It’s a novel approach to get the viewer to watch the film, but it’s effectively just another audio commentary.
- Making a Murder – This 9-part feature are all bullet points under this “Making a Murder” moniker. Each focuses on a distinct portion of the film. Most of the segments run at least ten minutes, giving us nearly two hours of “making of…” goodness. It’s well worth a watch, after you’ve seen the film of course.
- Premeditation: Inspirations and Origins
- Gathering the Suspects: The Cast
- Dressed to Kill: Costume Design
- The Scene of the Crime: Production & Design
- Visual Clues: Cinematography
- Putting the Clues Together: Editing
- Music to Kill For: Music & Sound
- Denouement: Whodunnit?
- Sub Feature – generic explanation here.
- Deleted Scenes – Two total, there’s the option to watch with or without commentary.
- Bicycling Accident
- Don’t Do Anything Rash
- Videos – For some reason, these are lumped into the “Videos” section.
- Rian Johnson: Planning the Perfect Murder – About the only standard feature on the disc is this 6 minute EPK-based “glorified trailer” with Johnson explaining why he wanted to make the film and so forth. Then again if you’ve watched or listened to any of the above features, it’s redundant.
- Director and Cast Q & A – Filmed on November 14, 2019 in Westwood, California we get an all-star panel with director Rian Johnson, Jaeden Martell, Katherine Langford, Don Johnson, Michael Shannon, Jamie Lee Curtis, Ana de Armas, Chris Evans and James Bond himself – Daniel Craig. It’s a star-studded and entertaining 43 minutes.
- Meet the Thrombeys Viral Ads – generic explanation here.
- Thrombey Real Estate – Jamie Lee Curtis, in character, does a brief TV spot for Thrombey Real Estate – A Cut Above the Competition.
- Blood like Wine Publishing – Michael Shannon, again – in character, does a spot announcing that he’s been appointed the acting CEO of Blood Like Wine Publishing and announces “new and exciting things on the horizon!” We can’t wait!
- Flam – Toni Collette’s character hawks “Flan: Fountain of Youth”. Hurry, if you act now all products are 50% off!
- Marketing Gallery – A trio of trailers as well as a tip of the hat to the genre that inspired this film.
- Teaser Trailer
- Theatrical Trailer
- Final Trailer
- Ode to the Murder Mystery
The Bottom Line
There’s a certain characteristic to Johnson’s movies that others simply do not have. I found Knives Out thoroughly entertaining, but maybe don’t praise it quite as high as others. Still, the 130 minute run time seemed to fly by and that’s saying a lot. Lionsgate’s disc delivers the goods with amazing sound and video and it’s loaded with enough extras to certainly warrant a purchase.MOVIE INFO.
- Video Codec: HEVC (H.265)
- Audio: Dolby Atmos
- 2 Disc Set DISC FEATURES
- Theatrical Trailer
- Audio Commentary
- Deleted Scene(s)
- Digital Copy