It is our family tradition to see a movie on Thanksgiving Day. Often times, we have to choose a more family friendly movie that appeals to a broader range of ages, but this year my pick won out. Granted, we went to see Frozen II earlier in the week, but I was still excited to get to see a second movie of my choice in the same week. This is my spoiler free Knives Out movie review.
Knives Out Movie Review
What is Knives Out about, exactly? One might be thrown for a bit of a loop based on the promos and trailers. Is it “Clue?” Kind of. Is it family friendly? Yeah, no. Does Chris Evans look great an an array of sweaters? Yes, yes he does. Unlike most of my movie reviews that don’t fret over spoilers, I’m going to approach this one with caution as I feel like spoilers would ruin the movie. I’m not that rude, I promise.
A Family Murder Mystery
First, the premise of Knives Out is a family gathering for the patriarch’s birthday that ends up in his murder. Who dun it? Not only are the local detectives on the case, but Daniel Craig as Benoit Blanc, private investigator, has also been hired to look into the shenanigans of the Thrombey family.
Harlan Thrombey is a wealthy, murder mystery author, played by Christopher Plummer, who has always taken care of his family, until now. Tensions are high as the family members recount their whereabouts before, during, and after Harlan’s birthday party to the detectives and Blanc.
Creative Writing and Directing
I really enjoyed the way writer/director Rian Johnson laid out the story for the audience. We spend the first 15 minutes of the film learning from the Thrombey siblings about how much they adored their father, until son-in-law Richard (played by Don Johnson), shares how he (and by in large everyone) really feels about Harlan.
This part of the story is predictable. Something is amiss as everyone deflects and creates alibis for where they were or what they said to Harlan on the day of his party. Of course no one wants to look like they have a motive. Moving forward, quickly, however, it becomes more obvious that something else is going on.
Stand Out Acting
Next, what propels the story forward for the audience is Daniel Craig’s impeccable acting and syrupy sweet southern drawl along with Ana de Armas painfully honest turn as Marta, Harlan’s nurse. Craig’s lines are often made even funnier (whether intentional or not) by the accent, but also by his character’s desire to be Sherlockian in nature. He even utters the famous line, “The game’s afoot!” much to the delight of my nerdy, Sherlock loving heart.
Ana de Armas is one of the main focuses of the film as one of the few party attendees who is not an actual member of the Thrombey family. Her character is refreshingly honest and, thankfully, stays that way throughout the film. It’s rare to see a character who maintains their integrity throughout a film, and it was nice to see Marta stick to her sense of right and wrong.
So, is it a Family Film?
As much as I love to take my kids to the movies, this one was not for them. Chris Evans is fantastic in his role as Ransom Thrombey, but Captain America this role is not. There’s quite a bit of language from his character, and others, and much of the content surrounding the murder is definitely more adult in nature. Older teens might enjoy this one, but use your best parenting judgement if language and adult content is concern for your family.
See It or Redbox It?
Finally, as with all my reviews, should you see it or should you Redbox it? I really enjoyed this film as a whole. It’s been one of the most complete films I’ve seen all year. The writing, directing, acting, and cinematography all work together to make this movie entertaining and engaging. When you leave the theater talking about the alternate endings you pictured, you know it was a good film. I definitely recommend seeing this one while it’s in theaters.