Knives Out Running Time

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Bringing a Knife Running First, let’s address the premise of the campaign and answer some of the questions that are meant to be rhetorical. The designers say that this is the “perfect knife for those running alone, biking, hiking, camping or just walking the dog.”. Knives Out is a great antidote to the Oscar contenders and family fare that dominate this time of year. It's a purely fun time at the movies thanks to its strong story and fantastic performances. Starring: Toni Collette, Ana de Armas, Edi Patterson Running time: 2h 10m Release date: 1st Jun 2020. Offenesive language. Mark Kermode reviews Knives Out. The patriarch of a wealthy family is at the centre of a murder mystery where his closest family are all the prime suspects.P.

Lionsgate

While the star-studded cast alone might be enough to draw audiences into theaters for Knives Out (opening Nov. 27), the mystery at its center is what's keeping them in their seats, if early reviews are anything to go by. At its core, it's a 'whodunit' mystery, with a veritable mansion full of people trying to figure out who murdered a famous novelist. It's a premise that sounds like it was pulled right from any murder mystery novel, but Knives Out isn't actually based on a specific book. The story just feels incredibly familiar, and it owes that familiarity to some classic mystery literature and a certain cult film.

Like any good murder mystery, it's probably best to go into Knives Out completely blind. That way, the twists and turns that are the bread and butter of the mystery genre can feel all the more surprising and suspenseful. But just in case that's not how you operate, here's a little more context: In Knives Out, famous novelist Harlan Thrombey (Christopher Plummer) invites his family to join him in his mansion for his 85th birthday party. But the morning after the party, they find Harlan dead. It falls to famous detective Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) to sort through each family member's possible motives for murdering Harlan and figure out who might have killed him.

If that premise sounds familiar, it's because it should. In a chat with Variety, director Rian Johnson cited his love of a specific author's work when developing Knives Out. 'I grew up reading Agatha Christie’s books,' he said. 'I wanted to make a whodunit for forever. Ten years ago, I had a very basic idea for this and have just had it cooking ever since.' Christie, a famous mystery novel author who published 66 mystery novels between 1920 and 1976, was the creator of Hercule Poirot, a fictional Belgian police detective who, in the vein of Sherlock Holmes, was said to be 'one of the greatest detectives of all time.' As mentioned in the trailer, detective Benoit Blanc carries a similar reputation, and the circumstances surrounding his investigations carry thematic similarities to Poirot's. As Johnson told Empire Magazine, 'Benoit Blanc has some of the elements of Poirot, in that he’s a bit self-inflated, but there’s a warmth to him which shines through with Daniel [Craig].'

But the similarities to other beloved mysteries don't stop at Christie. The film has drawn comparisons to 1985's Clue, which was a cult classic murder mystery parody based on the board game. There, in similar fashion, a group of six people (albeit strangers, not family) are invited to a mansion for dinner. But after the host turns up dead, it's up to them to find out who the killer is before they strike again. Clue has more of a parodic, comedic tone, which contrasts with Knives Out, as Johnson notes in a chat with Vulture. 'I had to make very clear to everybody that we’re not doing Clue,' he said. 'It’s not an arch parody. It’s going to be fun and it’s going to be funny, but the goal here is to do something that has the actual pleasures of the genre.' Judging by early reviews of Knives Out, it seems he's succeeded.

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.

Knives Out Running TimeTime

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.

Knives Out Running Time

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.

Knives Out Running Time

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.

“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.

Omega Notation

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Knives

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

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Knives Out Running Time With Previews

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