Knives Out is a difficult film to discuss by virtue of its genre. This is a classic whodunit, defined by plentiful lies and a ludicrous set of twists and turns engulfing its oversized characters (played a murderer’s row of established and up-and-coming Hollywood talent). And given the joy to be had watching writer/director Rian Johnson gleefully unveils the particulars of how novelist Harlan Thrombey (Christopher Plummer) met his grisly end, I don’t want to spoil anything.
So, while tiptoeing around the details, let’s cut to the heart of it: Knives Out is incredibly entertaining provided you don’t think about too much. Its mystery is gripping, particularly through its playful mid-section, which is a showcase for the talents of Ana de Armas. But it’s one of those mysteries that sort of falls apart in retrospect when you reflect upon one or two key details, and I admit that Daniel Craig’s apparent obsession with assuming a broad Southern accent still doesn’t hit the mark for me.
Knives Out also really suffers when you think too much about its politics – which are well-intended but undercooked – which makes me wonder about the choice to seed its dialogue with lines about ‘SJWs’ and the alt-right.